October 27, 2014

This is the final report of the 2014 crop year, covering the conditions and observations made between Monday, September 29 and Sunday, October 26, 2014. The next report will be posted on or about Monday, February 2, 2015 prior to the start of the 2015 bloom.

The first of this report’s photos for the northern region provides a glimpse of an orchard in the Arbuckle area of Colusa County that has been scraped with an orchard float to smooth the orchard floor after harvest. Meanwhile, our second and third image shows the extremes of orchard life in the Chico area of Butte County, where an older, low producing orchard has been removed while a new planting established earlier this continues to develop.

Weather in the Sacramento Valley transitioned into more Fall-like conditions during the period, while still providing ample opportunities for the completion of the 2014 harvest. Daily high temperatures varied widely during the period, with readings in the first half of the month ranging from the mid 80’s to upper 90’s, before dropping into the upper 60’s to lower 80’s in  the period’s second half. Morning temperatures maintained a more static pattern, varying predominately between the upper 40’s and lower 60’s throughout the period. Showers swept over the region on the 14th and 15th, dropping several hundredths of an inch in the wettest locations. However, a much more potent storm literally blew across the valley on the 25th, bringing winds in excess of 35 mph while dropping from a few hundredths to as much as two tenths of an inch of rain.

The 2014 harvest in the Sacramento Valley has been completed. Observers are reporting that while yield levels ran a bit lower than what growers were hoping for when compared to the 2013 crop, quality levels were generally quite good, in spite of reports of excessive amounts of Navel Orange Worm damage some growers endured.

Most of the region’s huller/sheller operations finished processing the crop shortly after the completion of the harvest in the fields. However, a few of the larger facilities continue to run product as this report is being prepared and expect to complete their season by mid-November.

Growers quickly moved into a post-harvest mentality, working to complete required tasks prior to the start of what all hope will be a very wet winter. While the past month’s weather has brought some moisture to the region, the rainfall has not met the orchard’s needs and post-harvest irrigations continue for those with water available from private wells. Smoothing the orchard floor after harvest, along with fertilizer and soil amendment applications are among the first of the normal post-harvest tasks to be completed, with pruning and brush shredding following closely behind.  At the same time, older orchards are also being removed and lands are being prepared for the planting of new orchards during the upcoming dormant season.

Over the coming months, growers will be working to remove mummy nuts from the trees that can provide safe harbor for Navel Orange Worm larvae and preparing their plantings for the start of the 2015 bloom.

Current weather at the National Weather Service
Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy
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