Californian Almond Update
For all intents and purposes the 2016 bloom is complete with only a very few straggling orchards finishing petal fall and moving into the nutlet stage. The valley is transforming into a sea of bright green as orchards vigorously sprout new leaves and nutlets. Given the quick progression of the bloom period, the 2016 bloom will be considered a “flash bloom”.
The past 7 days have been ideal for almond pollination, above normal temperatures, plenty or bright sunshine to facilitate abundant bee activity and an absence of any inclement weather. Equally important to the development of the crop, the conditions facilitate the rapid growth of nutlets improving the possibility of nut retention.
Below please find an evaluation of the factors playing a major role in setting a successful crop for the in the 3 stages of bloom.
Chilling Hours: Average to above normal throughout the valley
Soil moisture: Winter storms began in October and continued through January providing saturated soils and leaching of salts
Bud Set: Given the below normal crop last year bud development appeared to be strong
Flowering: Strong bloom consistent with coming off a short crop
Overlap of Varieties: Average with some reports Fritz out a little early
Temperatures: Above normal throughout the valley consistently in the high 60”s ( 15C)to low 70’s (21C) Many areas set records for consecutive days above 70’s degrees
Moisture: One minor weather event during flowering with little or no damage reported. Orchard moistures were reported to be good with dew or fog in morning on multiple days. No reports of frost or temperatures near freezing
Bee Hours: Excellent bee activity every day
Excellent weather up to this point for healthy nut development. A major storm system will be hitting California today through Wednesday which is forecasted to drop significant rain on the valley floor and several feet of snow in the mountains. NOAA long-term forecast for March is for above normal rainfall and below normal temperatures.
Despite the excellent weather conditions during pollination, it is impossible to estimate the success of the bloom at this time. It is often said the weather after the bloom is as critical as during the bloom. Unfortunately the post bloom weather outlook is less than ideal. Moreover keep in mind that California’s Central Valley has the threat of frost well into April.
Below please find the potential 2016 crop using the actual yield for the last 5 years and a bearing acreage of 920,000 acres.
|Actual Yield per Acre in Lbs.||2,540||2,310||2,360||2,150||2,135|
|Projected 2016 Crop using yield per acre Yields|
(Millions of lbs.)