This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, June 4 and Sunday, July 1, 2018. The next scheduled report will be posted on Monday, August 6, 2018. In the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.
The seasonal transition from Spring to Summer brought clear skies and rising temperatures throughout the Central Valley. With coolest temperatures in the low to mid 80’s, daily maximum readings followed a cyclical pattern, rising to or just over the 100-degree mark in the period’s opening days, at mid-month and again during the final days of the period. Meanwhile, morning lows followed a similar, but subtler pattern ranging between the upper 40’s and lower 60’s in all areas of the valley. As with the previous month, there were several days of winds during the period, with speeds on the blusterier days reaching into the upper teens and lower 20’s.
Growers in all areas of the Central Valley spent the month preparing for the upcoming harvest. Observers reported that hull split of the first blank nuts in the Nonpareil, those that have developed a hull and shell, but were not fertilized and contain no kernel, was observed on June 20 along the west side of the valley. Hull split of the blanks normally precedes the good or “sound” nuts and as may be seen in the photos accompanying this report, hull split of the “sound” Nonpareil was observed along the west side during the final week of the month. Hull split will progress throughout the valley in the coming weeks.
With the approaching harvest, growers were working to mow vegetation within the orchards and adjust each orchard’s irrigation schedule to provide for the proper timing of upcoming treatments to control Navel Orange Worm. The result of elevated populations last year and poor conditions for winter sanitation, Pest Control Advisors, University of California Farm Advisors and USDA researchers have all reported elevated trap counts of male and female NOW moths, as well as egg trap counts. As noted in previous reports, growers are keenly aware of the losses they suffered in the 2017 crop and are working to provide better protection against losses this year. After closely monitoring the stages of the development, some growers have opted to begin treatments for control during the last week of the month. Many others are expected to initiate their treatment programs in the first days of July.
Several weather forecasters have hinted at the possibility that July will bring some of the highest temperatures of the year to the Central Valley. This could complicate grower’s efforts to maintain adequate soil moisture, while ensuring that they can complete Navel Orange Worm treatments in a timely manner. Growers also target water reductions during the hull split to reduce infections of hull rot. Excessive heat can make this balancing act just a bit more complicated.
Growers who have pulled older, lower producing orchards are also fully engaged in preparing their lands for replanting. Crawler tractors tilling deeply into the land, excavators preparing each tree site and crews installing irrigation systems can be found working in all areas. All this activity occurs while also working to service harvest machinery in preparation for the harvest.
By Mel Machado
Photos by: Christine Ivory, Mel Machado, and Matthew Willson