October 3, 2015

This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, September 3 and Sunday, October 2, 2016. The next scheduled report will be posted on Monday, October 24, 2016. In the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.

Our photos for this report present a windrow of Fritz variety almonds waiting to be picked up and an orchard under drip irrigation in the Arbuckle area of Colusa County, followed by stockpiled product accumulating at a sheller in the Durham area of Butte County.

Clear, bright skies dominated the weather during September in the Sacramento Valley, providing for one of the quickest harvests in memory. Daily maximum temperatures exhibited a persistent pattern, varying on a ten-day oscillation between the mid 70’s and upper 90’s. Morning lows followed a similar pattern, running between the lower 50’s and lower 60’s throughout the period. In contrast to the dry conditions in September, the first days of October were accompanied by the approach of a fairly potent weather system that brought light showers to many areas of the region and heavy downpours to a few locations on the final day of the period. While the majority of the region escaped significant rainfall, a few locations in the extreme north end of the region, as well as just north and east of Sacramento reported receiving as much as a quarter inch of rain, along with some hail.

Harvest operations in the Sacramento Valley’s orchards are winding down as growers work to bring in the last of the pollenizer varieties. This year’s harvest has progressed at a very rapid pace, allowing growers to move quickly through their orchards. Observers are reporting that many growers have completed the harvest and that with few exceptions, all that remains to be harvested are the last few plantings of late maturing Monterey and Fritz. While the impact on harvesting these last orchards as a result of the rain received on the last day of the period is yet to be determined, significant issues are not anticipated. As deliveries from the orchards have slowed, huller/sheller operations with previously stockpiled almonds have already begun retrieving product, a process that will take from two to six weeks to complete.

Growers are reporting that the reduced yields experienced in the Nonpareil have unfortunately carried through to virtually all of the pollenizer varieties. Many orchards are running 20% below last year’s levels. Fortunately, quality levels are running higher than in 2015. Navel Orange Worm damage plagued many growers last year. But, wetter conditions during the past winter provided growers with better opportunities to reduce the population of over-wintering larvae, providing lower damage levels in the current crop.

Observers are reporting that the leaf-loss reported last month has increased during the harvest as the effects of Scab and Rust continued to spread and mite populations increased. While many orchards are exhibiting some degree of defoliation, observers have reported that the region’s orchards are in generally good condition.

Growers are now moving to post-harvest activities, with many focused immediately on fertilizer applications and post-harvest irrigations. Over the coming weeks, pruning and the removal of older, low producing orchards will also begin.

By Mel Machado

Current weather at the National Weather Service
Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy
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