This is the final report of the 2015 crop year, covering the conditions and observations made between Monday, October 5, and Sunday, November 1, 2015. The next report will be posted on or about Monday, February 1, 2016 prior to the start of the 2016 bloom.
The first of our photos for the northern region present a view of stockpiled product being loaded for transport to the huller/sheller and a shot of an orchard after pruning, both in the Chico area of Butte County. Our final image shows a field prepared for planting in the Williams area of Colusa County, while our feature image shows a first year orchard after the trees have received their first pruning.
Sacramento Valley growers enjoyed comfortable temperatures during October, with dry conditions dominating the first weeks of the month. Daily maximum temperatures were reported at their highest levels in the first half of the period, with readings rising daily from the lower 80’s to the lower 90’s. However, readings during the second half of the period dipped into the lower 70’s to lower 80’s, with the arrival of brief, light showers that dropped trace amounts to a few hundredths of an inch of rain over the region at mid-month. While morning minimum temperatures followed a similar pattern, readings exhibited a bit more stability, varying predominately between the mid 50’s to lower 60’s.
Harvest operations in the Sacramento Valley were completed in the latter half of October. While all in the region are looking forward to a wet winter season, growers enjoyed the lack of significant rainfall over the past few months, enabling a clean and relatively uncomplicated harvest. Growers in the northern region also enjoyed the best production of the 2015 crop. Many reported yields greater than recorded in the 2014 crop, with best production rivaling yields reported in 2013. However, quality levels were reported at less than ideal levels, the result of damage caused by Navel Orange Worm, which impacted varieties with open or weak shell seals, allowing worms to enter the kernels.
Post harvest tasks now dominate grower’s schedules. Pruning, brush shredding, fertilizer and soil amendment applications will be prime activities for the next few weeks, with herbicide applications waiting until the first winter rains. Orchard sanitation, the removal and destruction of mummy nuts from the trees will also take place after the first storms weaken the nuts attachment to the trees.
Huller/sheller operators are working to complete processing the last of the previously harvested crop. Meanwhile, growers with older, low producing plantings are removing orchards while those establishing new orchards are preparing the fields for planting later this winter, continuing the cycle of production.