This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, February 29, 2016 and Sunday, March 6, 2016. The next scheduled report will be posted on Monday, March 21, 2016. In the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.
Taken in Southern Fresno County, the first photo in today’s report shows the aerial application of fungicide sprays, followed by a photo of petal fall in a Butte and Padre orchard. The third photo illustrates the nutlet development in the Monterey variety in the Delano area of Kern County.
The first weekend in March received significant precipitation as the initial phase in a series of storms passed through the southern region. Temperatures at the beginning of the week reached the low 80s and allowed the crop to begin sizing nicely. The clear skies and warm temperatures gave way to cloud cover and windy conditions with daytime highs dropping into the upper 60s as the weekend storm approached.
Observers reported steady winds between 5 and 10 mph, with gusts above 20 mph throughout the weekend. Rainfall totals ranged between 1.5 inches to nearly 3 inches in Fresno County, with the majority of rain received Saturday and Sunday evenings. In contrast, southern Tulare and Kern Counties received minimal amounts of precipitation, with observers reporting that they received up to three quarters of an inch in the wettest locations.
The crop in the southern region continues to mature. Nutlet development has been progressing steadily. Sonora and Avalon nutlets are beginning to break through their protective jackets. The Nonpareil variety is beginning to size, followed closely by the various pollenizer varieties which are still wrapped within their jackets.
Prior to the storm’s arrival, growers were busy making fertilizer and fungicide applications. With more rain on the horizon, growers are doing everything they can to prevent fungal infections on the developing crop. As illustrated in today’s photos, growers turned to aerial applications where necessary. Beekeepers were seen collecting hives before the wet weather and will continue throughout the month as fields become more accessible.
By Jereme Fromm