Almond Crop Progress Report 08.02.24
The much-hyped La Niña weather phenomenon has brought a significant amount of rain the California's Central Valley in recent weeks. While the rainfall has been beneficial for replenishing soil moisture and supporting cover crops, it has also presented significant challenges for orchard workers trying to complete tasks during the dormant season. Despite the abundant rainfall from the warm winter storms, there has been a lack of snowfall, which is crucial for the Sierra Nevada watershed.
Orchard sanitation, which involves removing "mummy" nuts that remained on trees after harvest has garnered significant attention, especially in light of the high reject rates caused by the Navel Orangeworm in the 2023 crop. Sanitation serves as the cornerstone of Navel Orangeworm management, as these mummy nuts act as perfect overwintering sites for larvae. This means that removing them to prevent next year's crop from being infected is crucial.
Numerous growers have opted to skip pruning this year as a cost-cutting measure. While training young plantings remains essential, research conducted by the University of California has demonstrated that pruning older plantings is unnecessary and can be readily omitted.
Observers indicate that both planted and native cover crops have thrived thanks to the recent rainfall. The blossoms produced by these cover crops act as a vital food source for honeybees before the main bloom begins, ensuring that beehives reach their peak strength at the onset of flowering. Given that pollination constitutes a significant portion of production costs, there is a collective effort to provide optimal conditions for pollination. Beekeepers have been relocating bees to the Valley since the beginning of the year. strategically placing hives in "bee yards" near orchards. The final phase of moving hives into the orchards is currently in progress, although some are encountering difficulties, particularly in orchards situated on heavier soils that are challenging to access.
via Blue Diamond Growers