This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, August 31 and Sunday, October 4, 2015. The next report is scheduled for Monday, November 2, 2015. However, in the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.
Taken in Colusa County, the first of our photos for the northern region presents a shot of the Monterey variety near Maxwell, waiting to dry on the orchard floor after the rain swept over the region. Meanwhile, other orchards are under irrigation, in these images using micro-sprinkler or buried drip lines as growers supply post-harvest water to their trees.
Weather conditions in the Sacramento Valley provided growers with ample opportunity to harvest their crops, though not without some degree of difficulty. Temperatures varied widely during the period, peaking well over the 100 degree mark on the 10th and 20th of the month, then alternately dropping into the upper 60’s and lower 70’s at mid-month and again during the period’s final week as rain swept over the valley. Meanwhile, morning lows followed a similar pattern, varying between the mid 50’s and lower 70’s. Rainfall totals during the period varied from trace amounts to as much as 0.2 inch, falling mainly from the cut-off low pressure system that passed over the region in the period’s final week.
While the rain the region received during the period did slow or temporarily halt harvest activity in many orchards, conditions during the majority of the period were quite beneficial, allowing for a rapid harvest. Some growers battled accelerated maturity within the various pollenizer varieties, making separation during the harvest a bit problematic. Further, damage caused by Navel Orange Worm has been widespread, reducing quality levels in many orchards. Fortunately, unlike many in the San Joaquin Valley, growers in the Sacramento Valley have enjoyed comparatively good production levels. Growers have widely reported yields above 2014 levels, with many reporting production levels approaching those recorded in the 2013 crop.
The 2015 harvest is entering its final days as this report was being prepared. The rainfall recorded during the final week of the period has caused a temporary halting of activities in the fields for those with crop remaining to be picked up. However, most growers have completed the harvest and have moved on to post-harvest tasks. Observers are reporting that barring any additional inclement weather, harvest operations in the orchards will be completed by mid-October. Huller/sheller operations are also entering the final stages for many facilities. However, those with product that has been stockpiled at harvest will continue to operate for a few weeks more.
Growers are now working to complete post-harvest irrigations and apply soil amendments to correct pH and salinity levels in their orchards. Pruning operations have also begun in some plantings as growers want to get a jump on required tasks prior to the arrival of what all hope will be a very wet winter.