June 29, 2015

This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, June 1 and Sunday, June 28, 2015. The next report is scheduled for Monday, August 3, 2015. However, in the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.

Taken in the Williams area of Colusa County, this report’s photos for the northern region present the splitting hulls of the Nonpareil and the relatively heavy crop sets of the Carmel and Winters varieties. Our featured image shows an orchard prepared for harvest and waiting for the arrival of the shakers.

Variable, but rising temperatures dominated the weather in the Sacramento Valley during June, casting quite a contrast to the mild conditions that dominated much of the previous month. Daily maximum temperatures increased steadily during the period, rising from the low to mid 80’s in the period’s opening days, peaking as high as 110 degrees during the final week of the month. Meanwhile, morning lows ranged between the mid 50’s and lower 60’s for much of the month, peaking in the upper 60’s at the end of the period. Brief showers scattered a few hundredths of an inch of precipitation over isolated areas of the region during the morning of June 10th, causing no consequence to the crop or growing conditions.

Observers are reporting the start of the hull split in the Nonpareil variety, signaling the approach of the coming harvest. This has prompted growers to begin the first round of hull split treatments for Navel Orange Worm, NOW. Many will follow with a second treatment, depending on trap counts used to monitor activity and timing of the insect’s life cycle. Poor mummy shaking condition this past winter have left an excessive number of over-wintering insects in the region’s orchards, making the timing of required treatments critical to reducing impacts on the 2015 crop. Growers have noted that their egg and pheromone traps have been very active this year, an indication of the level of activity in the orchards. Applications of bait formulations targeted at damaging ant species are also being conducted as are efforts to prepare the orchard floors for harvest.

For the most part, growers have been able to meet their orchards water needs this year, owing to the geographic location of the Sacramento Valley. While the reduction of supplies from federal and state sources have made for tight supplies, thus far, grower’s wells have largely been able to meet the demand. Growers in the areas under the tightest restrictions are predicting a relatively early harvest date, while those with adequate water are estimating that they will start shaking approximately 5 days ahead of last year. Obviously, should the current heat wave continue, the potential for water stress will also rise and orchards under the greatest stress could be pulled towards an earlier harvest. Excessive stress will also exacerbate the potential for weight loss in the crop.

Current weather at the National Weather Service
Ryan Christy
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