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
A limited amount of almond hull split sprays may start in the southern San Joaquin Valley late in the new week and maybe in the last week of June on a localized basis in other areas. But it still sounds like the bulk of treatments will begin in early July.
Disease pressure in almonds remains light, based on this week’s reports. That’s been a recurring theme this year. Nobody is complaining.
Hotter weather is supposed to settle over much of the Central Valley later in the new week, with highs into triple digits at times. So far, spider mites and worms have been relatively light across most crops, but that much heat could very well light the fuse.
A mid-season almond field meeting has been set for Thursday, June 15, in Ballico in Merced County and will run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Connect to more information in our Links section.
Merced County Assistant Agl Commissioner Yvette Pellman will update farmers about nonfumigant volatile organic compounds, chlorpyrifos and worker safety standards during a field day in Dos Palos on Tuesday, June 20. Connect to more info in our Links section.
The northern location for the Regional Almond Variety Trial project will host a field day on June 22 at the site, Chico State University’s University Farm. The event begins at 9 a.m. Connect in our Links section to more info.
Chris Morgner, PCA, Agri-Valley Consulting, Merced
“We’re not finding anything in the almonds. Someone in our group did come across some mites on first-leaf trees, and those are probably the first ones that any of us have found this season.
“Where we’ve sprayed anything on a preventive basis for mites, it’s been in some first- and second-leaf trees in a dusty area. Problems developed there last year and we wanted to get ahead of things this year.
“We’ve found a little rust – one leaf with several infections on it – so we’re not worrying about it right now. We’re certainly looking for diseases but don’t have a need to spray at this point. Some ant baits are going out, the version that you put in place 8 weeks before harvest.
“We have had problems with voles in some second-leaf almonds. They can girdle trunks at the soil line. In this case, they killed about 200 trees in a 40-acre orchard. We see vole damage on occasion but nothing extensive like this. The grower has 100 acres in 2 adjoining fields, but the 60-acre field had a lot less damage.
“That’s been a very weird deal and we’re not sure what to make of it. It seems like things we’ve encountered lately have been on the unusual side.
“Unless something comes up unexpectedly, we don’t plan on doing anything in almonds until hull split sprays. Some of those treatments may start as early as June 25, although July 1 will probably be when most spraying gets underway.
“In walnuts, we’re between codling moth flights. I expect that the second flight will come up in 7 to 14 days (from 6/8). Pistachios are pushing some nice growth. A few recommendations have been written by our group for big bugs. That’s a very limited situation. I checked some pistachios today and didn’t see problems of any kind in those trees.
“Our cotton is beginning to square and lygus are developing in pockets. I expected lygus to be more intense or dramatic this year, considering all the early rain and hosts, but that hasn’t happened yet.
“Some aphid issues have turned up, with leaves curling and big colonies on young cotton plants. We expect to see some of that on cotton every year, but this year it’s more widespread.
“Tomatoes have been pretty quiet. We’re just beginning to find armyworms. The numbers aren’t big but enough to get our attention. The weather may start pushing them, although it’s a little cool today, and that should continue for 3 or 4 days. It’s 72 right now in Merced (6/8) after hitting 88 yesterday. We were in the low to mid 90s during the first few days of June but today it’s cloudy and has actually sprinkled a little.
“By next week we may get rolling on some armyworms in tomatoes, but we’re not pulling the trigger yet. I still haven’t sprayed an alfalfa field for worms. It’s usually right around this point when we might make that first application, so next week we may do some of that, too.”
Brian Gogue, PCA, Helena Chemical Co., Hanford
“Almonds are kind of at a standstill. We’re pretty much through with treating leaffooted plant bugs or stink bugs. Everything has been hardened off for a couple of weeks, so those bugs are behind us.
“Our biggest concern right now would typically be spider mites, but 90% of what I’ve checked has had zero pressure. We found them on one ranch a couple of weeks ago, but then a decent little rain fell and that seemed to knock them back.
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“Overall, things are pretty clean this week. With the rain, we’ve had a little concern about rust and did a preventive on one ranch. We saw a few specks on another range in just one field. We’re keeping up with zinc on some first- and second-leaf trees but we’re done with fertilizer on the bearing trees.
“In pistachios, we’ve had quite a bit of lygus pressure in the last several weeks and have treated a number of blocks. Some had leaffooted plant bugs and stink bugs plus a lot of the really small bugs – phytocoris and calacoris. But I think we’re past them being a concern now. It takes some effort with a knife to cut through those nuts now.
“We’re gearing up for a big push on fertilizer and water in pistachios over the next 6 or 7 weeks as trees move into nut fill, and we’re doing a lot of foliars in pistachios to maintain micronutrients.
“Tomatoes look great. They’re growing and setting very well. The earliest tomatoes have a lot of fruit on them. So far, we’ve only been applying dusting sulfur. Zero worms in tomatoes. None. Otherwise, we’re keeping up with fertilizer. It’s been a nice growing season for tomatoes so far.
“Cotton is just starting to grow fairly well. We are running into all kinds of lygus pressure, and they seem to be everywhere – in abandoned fields, alfalfa, roadside weeds. It’s like they’re coming at us from every direction. On a few fields we’ve made a second lygus treatment and almost everything has had one. But I know of some other fields that have been sprayed for the third time.
“Probably 90% of our cotton is squaring by now (6/8). Mites are mostly nonexistent at this point. On one ranch we’ve found some pressure, a little more than we’re accustomed to seeing in Pima. A couple of other ranches do have mites coming on. Growers are just getting ditches knocked down, so we’ll come back and treat lygus and include a miticides in the same pass.
“We’re still battling mildew in grapes. With the cooler weather this season it’s been relentless. We’ve been aggressive, but some is still coming through. We’ve probably dusted 3 times and have sprayed every 2 weeks since early in the season. At this point we maybe have 5 total spray applications.”
John Moore, PCA, Growers Crop Consulting, Bakersfield
“Almonds look pretty and this could be a nice crop. We’re dealing with mites in a few fields, nothing bad, but we’re on our second spray. We’ll include a miticides with our hull split spray in locations that historically have been bad spots.
“We can probably go another week with that second miticides spray where it was made, then we’ll have to do something. I’m finding live adults and a few eggs. We’ll do hull split sprays on some fields at the end of next week. These are fields where we’ve had a PTB problem in the past. At 10 days after that we’ll come back with another spray focused more on NOW.
“That’s starting sooner than might be the case with a lot of people, but a handful of my growers firmly believe that earlier is better, and controlling PTB is important to them.
“Not much is going on in pistachios. I found some brown scarring, which I think is due to thrips. In apples, we’re not finding much codling moth activity, which is unusual.
“Codling moths are minimal in walnuts right now, too, and I’ve yet to find a strike. For some reason the leps aren’t showing up in numbers like in the past. The PTB numbers did pick up 2 weeks ago and were pretty darn high at one point. I’m changing the bottoms in my traps this week, and I expect the counts to increase next week, but that will probably be due more to the fresh bottoms. The life of trap bottoms is about 4 weeks, so we’ll see what happens next.”
Aaron Beene, PCA, Simplot, Merced
“As far as disease goes right now, almonds have pretty much been smooth sailing. I haven’t seen much rust, scab or alternaria at all. We’ve moved into a pretty good cool down with intermittent sprinkles, but later next week the highs are supposed to move the into the 100s.
“Growers are paying close attention to irrigation and preparing for hull split sprays. Ant populations seem to be pretty high this year. We found some damage last year, so we’ll probably make ant bait applications over the next 1.5 to 2 months.
“We’re doing a lot of weed control work. Most ‘pre’ sprays have been holding really well but some escapes are now coming through. We’re cleaning up the strips right now. In 2 to 3 weeks we’ll probably come in with a solid spray to clean up the floor for harvest.
“We’re pretty much done with nitrogen in almonds and will pull leaf samples at the end of the month to evaluate how we did on the levels.
“In walnuts, we’re still monitoring for the 2A codling moth flight, which should be coming up in 1.5 to 2 weeks. With this hot weather, I’m sure we’ll see a bounce and a pretty good flight. We’ll include a miticides and also a material for botryosphaeria in the June spray.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties
“The forecast calls for some real heat to start in a week. We actually got rain in parts of the Sacramento Valley on Thursday (6/8) and totals ranged from 0.1 to 0.66 of an inch, depending on the location. Temperatures were cool and winds helped quickly dry the trees, so this may not be as big a deal, disease-wise, as the forecast might have indicated.”
California Almonds: Variety Trial Review Set For June 22, Chico State 6-3
California: Alfalfa Field Day, Dos Palos, June 20 6-9
California Almonds: What To Do If You Applied Abamectin In May 6-5
California Almonds: Mid-Season Field Meeting Set For June 15, Ballico 6-10
Louisiana Citrus: More Parishes Quarantined for Citrus Canker and Greening – Video 6-9
California Almonds: Varietal Trends in Acres Planted, 1988-2016 6-6
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