This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, June 30 and Sunday, August 3, 2014. The next report is scheduled for Monday, September 1, 2014. However, in the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.
Our photos for the northern region show the start of the Nonpareil harvest in the Sacramento Valley. First, the crop drying on the orchard floor in the Durham area of Butte County, followed by a sweeper moving the crop from under the trees and finally, the nuts ready to be picked up in the Arbuckle area of Colusa County, along the west side of the region.
Uncomfortably warm temperatures and high humidity levels created by monsoonal air flowing northward over the state typified the conditions in the Sacramento Valley during much of July. Daily maximum temperatures reached their greatest values in the period’s opening days, at mid-month and as the period concluded, with readings ranging from 100 to 105 degrees. In between, readings on the “cooler” days of the period still reached into the upper 80’s to upper 90’s. Meanwhile, overnight low temperatures ranged from the upper 50’s to mid 70’s, providing only a brief respite from the daytime heat.
The monsoonal conditions spawned a few brief showers, particularly along the east side of the region. While the humid conditions were quite palpable, no measurable rainfall was reported by official stations
Field preparations dominated the grower’s activities during July as they worked to groom their orchards for the harvest. Special attention was given to timing irrigations around the need for hull split treatments to control Navel Orange Worm, NOW, and bait applications to control protein feeding ants. Most growers have reported elevated counts in the traps used to monitor NOW populations and have been diligent in timing treatments required to control the insect and reduce damage to the crop. Vegetation management was also an important consideration as growers sent mowers into the orchards to reduce weed growth in an effort to ensure a clean, smooth orchard floor needed for an efficient harvest. Fortunately, web spinning mites have failed to reach serious levels so far this year, which translates into little leaf loss that could also slow the drying process after the nuts have been shaken from the trees.
As may be seen in the accompanying photos, the harvest has begun in the Sacramento Valley. Shaking began in the most water-stressed plantings along the west side and in the Durham area during the final week of the month, approximately 7 to 10 days ahead of last year. While the orchards shaken thus far are obviously the most stressed plantings, observers are reporting that the shake has been quite clean, leaving very few nuts in the trees.
Observers are reporting accelerated development in many of the pollenizer varieties with hull split evident in all varieties except for Mission, Monterey and Fritz. And we should mention that these are also show signs of the approaching split. Growers are reporting that they will be fully into harvest by August 11th and expected to move rapidly through the varieties with little if any break. Huller/sheller operators are reporting that preparations of their operations have been completed and that they are ready to receive the crop as it emerges from the orchards.