Californian Almond, Crop Progress Report August 2023
The remnants of Hurricane Hilary brought heavy rain and wind to California's almond-growing regions in August, causing significant damage to the crop. Areas of the southern San Joaquin Valley received up to 3 inches of rain, while other areas received less. The rain and wind knocked nuts to the ground and promoted fungal growth on the hulls. (bluediamondgrowers.com)
Growers who received the most rainfall are facing significant amounts of mold growing on the hull and shell of crop laying on the ground. This mold can render the crop unusable as inshell product. Growers who received the most rainfall have swept and conditioned their crops three to five times in an effort to dry the crop enough to pick up.(bluediamondgrowers.com)
Navel Orange Worm
Field staff inspecting crop for quality have noted excessive reject levels attributable to Navel Orange Worm (NOW). Huller-sheller operators that have received crop from the orchards have confirmed the damage, with levels running well into double-digit percentages for many loads.(bluediamondgrowers.com)
While the start of the harvest has been quite delayed, observers are reporting hull split in the later maturing pollinator varieties is progressing normally, indicating the potential for a compressed harvest and increased possibility of varieties being combined during the harvest. Some growers have predicted that they may have to send shakers into the orchards as soon as the Nonpareil has been picked up, with no time to irrigate between varieties.(bluediamondgrowers.com)
The factors listed above have combined to produce a very high reject levels and significant financial losses in much of the crop harvested thus far. At this time, the risk of damage to the balance of the crop remains high.
As this report is being written, shakers have begun to move into orchards throughout the Central Valley. Harvest operations will enter a “full throttle” pace during the first days of September as growers work to shake, sweep, and pick up the early harvesting varieties. Harvested product will quickly move to huller-sheller operations or storage in stockpiles for later processing as growers return to the field to harvest their pollinator varieties. All are hoping that there will no more challenges from the weather until harvest operations have been completed.(bluediamondgrowers.com)