August 31, 2015

This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, August 3 and Sunday, August 30, 2015. The next report is scheduled for Monday, October 5, 2015. However, in the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.

The first of our photos for this southern region report include a shot of an orchard under severe water stress and a shuttle cart building a stockpile of almonds near the orchard in the Chowchilla area of Madera County, followed by loading operations in the Delano are of Kern County. Our feature image shows a shaker bringing down the Monterey variety in the Pixley area of Tulare County.

Following a short time of moderate conditions in the period’s opening days, warm to hot temperatures dominated the weather in the southern region during August. Daily maximum temperatures ranged predominately between the low to mid 90’s and just over 100 degreed for the majority of the period, with warmest temperatures reaching as high as 105 degrees. Meanwhile, morning lows were widely reported in the upper 50’s to mid 60’s throughout the period.

The 2015 harvest is progressing at a feverish pace in the southern San Joaquin Valley.  Harvest of the Nonpareil is nearing completion as this report is being prepared, with many growers already well into the pollenizer varieties. Observers have noted that a number of plantings of the last to harvest Monterey and Fritz have already been shaken, with a few of the most advanced examples already picked up and delivered to the sheller for stockpiling. As a result of the accelerated pace thus far, some growers are predicting that  they will complete their harvest by the end of September.

Observers have also noted significant signs of water stress, as may be seen in the photo accompanying this report. Stresses produced by the lack of water and by poor quality water can both be easily observed in all areas of the region. However, the greatest degree of difficulty appears to reside in the Madera County area, south of Chowchilla. Leaves burnt by excessive salinity and defoliating orchards produced by a lack of water can be found in many locations. These stresses have conspired to produce disappointing crop yields for many in the region. While forecasts had called for yields below last year’s levels, many growers are reporting production below expectations. Compounding the difficulties, many are also reporting elevated reject levels produced by Navel Orange Worm. Growers and Pest Control Advisors have been monitoring orchards closely all year long and have noted high trap counts of the adult moths in many plantings.  Unfortunately, the high counts have translated into excessive losses in the harvested crop in spite of the growers’  best efforts to control the pest.

Stockpiles of almonds can be found in all areas of the region as growers bring the crop in from the orchards. These piles will be brought in for hulling and shelling after harvest operations in the fields have been completed and capacity at  the huller/shellers becomes available.

Current weather at the National Weather Service
Ernie Reichmuth, Matt Willson and Mel Machado
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