California Field Reports: Almond Hull-Split Stalling from Heat, Spider Mites Picking Up

    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending July 10, 2016.


    Another hot and dry week across the state, with rainfall isolated to parts of the northern mountains on Friday and Sunday. These showers brought less than a quarter inch of rainfall to the affected areas.

    Extreme maximum temperatures ranged from the 70s-90s in the mountains and along the coast, 80s-90s in the valley, and 90s-110s in the desert. Minimum temperatures fluctuated between the 30s-50s in the mountains, 50s-60s along the coast, 50s-70s in the valley, and 50s-80s in the desert.

    A few desert locations at high altitude dropped into the upper 40s a couple of nights during the week, and a couple of valley locations dropped into the upper 40s on Saturday night. Most mountain snowpacks were gone, with only patchy snow at sheltered areas in the northern mountains above 10,000 feet, as well on the peak of Mt. Shasta.


    In Merced County, ten percent of alfalfa was treated for worms. The hot temperatures accelerated cotton growth.

    In Fresno County, Alfalfa for seed production bloomed. Alfalfa for hay was cut, windrowed, and baled with some of the fields treated for pest and weed control.

    Cotton grew well and bloomed; growers continued to irrigate the fields.  Corn and sorghum was all up and growing well.


    Harvest of peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums were ongoing.  Apricot harvest was finishing in Fresno County. Stone fruits were maturing early with the hot weather. Fruit trees were irrigated and herbicide applications were applied to some orchard floors. Pomegranates were sizing well. Wine grapes in the Central Valley approached veraison. Table grape harvest continued. Grape vineyards were sprayed for mildew, mites, and weeds. Vineyards were irrigated to mitigate stress impacting sugar accumulation.

    Blueberry harvest was drawing to a close. Avocado harvest was ongoing. Fig growers continued preparations for harvest of the second crop. Valencia orange, lemon, Ruby Red grapefruit, mandarin, and tangelo harvest and packing continued. High temperatures continued to promote re-greening of Valencia oranges and had packers color sorting. Citrus shipments were slowing down due to color issues.


    Irrigation of nuts continued across the state. Hull split were increasing in almonds in some orchards and stalling in others due to the recent high temperatures. Almond growers continued applying hull split sprays in anticipation of harvest in early August. Worm sprays were applied to some almond orchards. Yellowing and leaf loss in Carmel almonds were reported in Stanislaus and Merced Counties. Spider mite activity was picking up with the ongoing heat after being tempered by the cool conditions and rain in May.

    Walnut branches broken from the weight of heavy sets were removed from orchard floors. Codling moth spraying in walnuts continued as did monitoring for husk fly. Sunburn sprays were applied to walnuts.

    Pistachios were well into nut fill and blanks were not reported to be significant.


    In Stanislaus County, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honey dew were harvested.

    In Monterey County, there were typical cool conditions for production.

    In San Mateo County, peas were harvested.

    In Fresno County, garlic and onions were harvested with a few onion fields reporting bacterial rot.  Weeding crews worked in dehydrator onion fields.  Sweet corn was harvested.  Corn stalks in some harvested fields were shredded for fodder and other fields were cultivated in preparation for the next crop.  Organic processing tomatoes were harvested with excellent quality and good yields.  Personal size watermelons were harvested with good yields.  Fungicide was applied to carrots.  Onion seed was cut and dried.  Anaheim chili peppers were planted.

    In Tulare County, summer vegetables were harvested and shipped domestically.  Zucchini, Italian squash, Bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers were harvested.  Sweet corn was harvested and sold at roadside stands.  Melons were irrigated and prepped for harvest. Lettuce grown for seed in Firebaugh District had matured and the lecture seed crop in Huron had bloomed.


    Desiccation of rangeland vegetation continued. Non-irrigated pasture and range in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys were reported to be in fair to very poor condition. Foothill forage was in fair condition. Fires continued to burn across the state, but the recent large fires necessitating evacuations of homes and livestock were nearly contained and evacuees allowed to return.

    Bees continued to labor in melon and sunflower fields. Sheep grazed on harvested alfalfa, small grain and fallow fields. Cattle movement to summer upper elevation range and BLM leases was nearly complete. Poor range conditions necessitated supplemental feeding for some cattle.

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