Here is this week's issue of AgFax Tree Crops.
Our thanks to BASF’s California team for once again sponsoring our coverage of tree crops in the Central Valley.
Owen Taylor, Editor
More rain fell late in the week, prompting additional fungicide applications in almonds. Another system is in the forecast for late in the new week, and that may push growers to make a treatment if they held off last week.
Treatments have been made for leaffooted plant bugs or stink bugs. Spider mites are hard to find.
Walnut blight sprays have either been going out or are being planned, depending on the location and varieties involved.
An airblast sprayer calibration workshop will be held Tuesday, April 25, from 7:30 a.m. 1 p.m. at the Nickels Soil Lab’s Green Bay site in Arbuckle. Connect to more info in our Links section.
From Our Sponsor
Mark W.F. Carter, PCA, Agri-Consultants, Los Banos:
“We’re getting rain today (4/7) with high winds. I don’t think the rain totals will be as much as predicted. The forecast at one point said it might rain as much as 1.75 inches, but I’m thinking that it will be under a half-inch.
“In almonds we’re finding a little stink bug activity, so we’ll be spraying in places next week and will probably include a fungicide since we’re supposed to get another rain next Thursday or Friday. It’s kind of surreal to get these rains every week now.
“Where we found insect damage some of it might be due to leaffooted bugs, but whatever insect is active has been barely making it through the hull. That leads me to believe that it’s due to stink bugs, not leaffooted bugs. We get stink bugs out of the foot hills nearly every year, so this fits into that pattern.
“This next fungicide will be the fourth application and probably the last for the year. We normally make 2 to 3, but then we had that big rain pattern about 2.5 weeks ago, so we made an application behind that. The 2 fungicide sprays up to that point had been by helicopter, so the coverage wouldn’t have been as good as we’d expect by ground. We were able to go by ground on the third application, which gave us some assurance that we had better coverage in place.
“The set looks better than we first thought it would. Potentially, it appears to be about as good as what we had last year. We had extra pollen in places. But even where we didn’t put more pollen out there, the bloom was extended, so pollination stretched out for a longer period, especially in the California varieties like Butte and Padre.
“So far, 25% to 30% of our nitrogen is out. That hasn’t been the easiest thing to do because it’s been raining so much. We’ve been running short irrigation sets in the process so we don’t get soils too wet. So far, we’ve applied about as much nitrogen as we put out by this same point last year.
“I was cutting nuts open the other day and found them to be pretty much at full size. They were mostly in the liquid phase with just a little gel formation.
“Growers started planting cotton this week, but then the rain came. Very little alfalfa cutting has started. Guys were going to begin this week, but then the rain put it on hold. Heads are filling out in the silage wheat.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties:
“We’re between rain storms right now (afternoon, 4/7) and expect another significant rain event around the middle of next week. Temperatures will be on the cool side, and we don’t expect to move into the upper 70s to low 80s for the next week or so.
“Most walnut growers needed to make a walnut blight spray. That’s the big focus. Insect trap counts in almonds are pretty much running zero. I’ve seen a couple of NOW adults, but that’s been about it.”
Dwaine Heinrich, PCA, Stanislaus Farm Supply, Modesto:
“The weather is kind of unsettled. We do have a little wind. The forecast called for gusts at 35 to 40 mph, although I don’t think we’ve seen anything more than 20.
“It’s rained a little. I don’t know if we’ve even received a quarter of an inch (as of late afternoon, 4/7), but the forecast says we could expect some more tonight and tomorrow. The temperature has dropped a little, too, and one forecast called for snow down to 4,000 feet. More rain is in the forecast, maybe for Wednesday and Thursday.
“We’re doing some walnut blight sprays in walnuts. Treatments already started where people wanted to apply materials ahead of this storm, particularly on the early varieties. More sprays have been lined up. The later varieties, like Chandler, can wait a little longer.
From Our Sponsor
“In almonds, a couple of clients put on a little fungicide ahead of the predicted storm. But a lot of growers already have made 3 fungicide sprays and decided to hold off. It’s been kind of an orchard-by-orchard decision, depending on the variety and other factors. Some producers started irrigating almonds, although I think moisture is still adequate.
“Growers are starting to cut some hay, plus taking off winter forage for dairy use and then prepping for corn.”
Tony Touma, PCA, Bio Ag Consulting, Bakersfield:
“It’s 3:45 p.m. on Friday (4/7), and it’s getting very windy and dusty, and the forecast says a storm is coming our way tonight.
“In almonds, we’re chasing leaffooted bugs. It looks like they’re widespread in the county this year but are in low numbers so far. I’m finding them in a lot of places but have not seen any big amounts of damage yet. Of course, that could happen at any time. I did treat a couple of fields last week and I’m writing recommendations for 3 more fields on Monday after the storm moves through. I’m treating in areas with a history of leaffooted bugs. These are farms that either have palm trees or adjoin areas with palms, and those have been where the insects overwintered. Mites have been in very low to nonexistent numbers so far.
“We’ll start some fungicide sprays next week for alternaria and rust. The last weather report said we could see some more storms next week, so it’s not over yet.
“In pistachios, some Golden Hills are at 75% to 80% bloom. Bloom in other varieties ranges from 30% to 50%. This year the males and females came out at the same time. That a really great surprise in pistachios because I didn’t think we had enough chilling to synchronize bloom. So, pollination has been good, and with this wind it should be even better.
“A lot of cotton growers have either finished planting or are close. These are cases where they won’t have a lot of cotton and can wrap up planting in a couple of days.”
David A. Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, Merced County:
“It’s been raining today (4/7), and the forecast says it could rain again starting next Thursday and extending into Saturday. This is definitely creating challenges.
“A lot of fungicide sprays went on this week in almonds ahead of the rainy weather we’re in right now. A few calls are coming in about yellow trees, which I’ve been expecting. Many people simply started irrigating too soon. If you need to apply nitrogen, it’s going to have to be in short sets.
“We received an inch of rain 10 days ago and another 0.5 to maybe 0.7 of an inch with this storm, so we have soil moisture. A few people are seeing some of the smaller internal leaves dropping, and that’s happening where they held back on irrigation. Don’t panic. It’s not uncommon to see this when things dry up a little. it's a natural process and not related to disease.
“With the wind this week we are seeing some nuts drop, and it maybe shook out any of the flowers that failed to set. I’m expecting calls next week concerning this drop, and it’s really about the time we expect to see the first round of it. The wind helped knock nuts from the trees, but many of those would have dropped anyway.
“A lot of fungicide went out ahead of the weather we’re having now. Those applications probably will hold through next week’s storm, although that will be pushing the window a bit. By then we will be 10 days out from this last treatment, plus 2 rain events since the application.
From Our Sponsor
“In walnuts I’m hearing a lot of discussion about whether walnut blight sprays should have gone out or if it’s better to wait until next week and spray ahead of the next weather system. I think more people held off and will make walnut blight sprays next week. Pistachios are blooming well. If the rains continue we’ll have to be conscious of botrytis.”
Nick Groenenberg, Independent PCA, Hanford:
“It started raining in Hanford yesterday (4/7) at about 7 a.m. and the heaviest rain stopped about 10 a.m., with just off-and-on scattered showers. Amounts varied, but out in the country it maybe totaled 0.15 of an inch, so it wasn’t a big event.
“The forecast does call for an 80% chance of rain on Thursday, although it looks like most of that will be north of Fresno, so we may miss the rain altogether or not receive anything excessive. The forecast is always subject to change, so we’ll see.
“About 10 days ago we sprayed for PTB in almonds and included a general fungicide. All that went out after all the bee hives had been removed. We’re irrigating and fertilizing as needed, and a little herbicide is going out, too. I do think we’re through with fungicides. We don’t really have a history of rust or related maladies. If we see shot hole then we may do something, but we’re past making any more preventive fungicide sprays in almonds this year. I’ll have to see something before we spray now.
“In pistachios we are concerned about botrytis. The Golden Hills have been out for a while, and we’re just starting to see some clusters. They’re pushing on the Kermans, and we can find a small cluster forming in scattered spots. We don’t have a history of botrytis in our area. It’s sunny again, and we’ve not been treating in most cases. Where we have applied a fungicide, the grower was going across with a nutrient spray and we decided to add a fungicide.
“Growers planted cotton up until a day or two ahead of this last rain. They’ll hold off for a while now. On Sunday the temperature is supposed to drop into the mid 30s. Once it warms up, I expect that they’ll start planting cotton right away. We really need to get the Pima in the ground.
“Hay has been pretty quiet. We sprayed about 30% of our acres for weevils. They began developing on the other 70% in light numbers, but then disappeared. I don’t know why they vanished, but we didn’t have to spray any more. The first cutting has come off and was baled up nicely. Growers are going for the second cutting now.
“Tomatoes look good and are responding well to the weather. I’ve been concerned about disease with all the rain, but I haven’t seen anything yet. We’ve done a little treatment with copper and are ready to come back with more if we find anything.”
California: 2 Drone Workshops, Kearney, April 13-14 4-7
California: Airblast Sprayer Calibration Field Day, Arbuckle, April 25 4-7
California Walnuts: Bot Management – What Recent Research Shows 4-7
California Citrus: Huanglongbing Detected Again in San Gabriel 4-6
California: Lake County Walnut Update Conference, Lakeport, April 25 4-6
California Walnuts: Flooded Orchards – What We’ve Learned From Past Floods 4-4
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