This report covers the conditions and activities observed from March 5, 2021 to March 11, 2021. This will be the final report covering bloom for 2021. The next crop report is scheduled for Monday 3/29/21. Additional updates will be posted as needed.
Stormy weather punctuated the final few days of bloom in California. The wind and rain knocked off the few petals remaining in most orchards and now a sea of green leafy tissue has taken its place. While thunderstorms, rain, and some hail were reported throughout the state, damage appears uncertain to the overall crop at this time. In general bees have had enough hours to pollinate the almond crop. The size of this year’s crop is going to be determined by how many nuts the trees can support after a record crop last year depleted extra nutrients from the orchards. Growers are tempering their expectations.
“It’s not going to be like last year, but it’s not going to be a disaster,” said Butte County grower Darren Rice. “It is still early, in a few weeks we will be able to get a better idea.”
In the next few weeks pollinated nutlets will begin growing and splitting through their protective jackets. During this time trees will drop excess nuts that it cannot support. Once it becomes apparent which nuts are going to stay on the tree, evaluations of crop potential can begin in earnest. Leaves are emerging and expanding to full size, and trees are beginning to take up water and nutrients.
Rains last week should delay irrigation in some areas. First nutrient applications will begin in the next couple of weeks to support the crop. Bee boxes are being removed from fields as there are no flowers left to pollinate. Mowing to protect against potential frost events is underway, as growers transition into the next growing phase.
By Brian Noeller
Photos By: Christine Ivory, Tim Sanchez, Ben Goudie, Mel Machado, and Ernie Reichmuth