“PCAs and growers I’ve talked to are thinking that hull split will start in maybe a July 4 to July 8 window in the Arbuckle area and sprays will start once the sound nuts begin to split inside the orchards about that time.
“With the next flight ‘in the air’ and laying eggs, keep an eye on sound nuts splitting on orchard edges and spray those edges to protect nuts on the perimeter.
“In walnuts, I’ve heard of some late-June husk fly catches. Codling moth counts edged up a little in places. I’ve heard very little about disease in walnuts or almonds stemming from the wet second half of May. That has kind of surprised people – including me.
“Fruit bins are positioned now in the early peach varieties, which always is the first sign of any harvest starting in this area.”
Tony Touma, PCA, Bio Ag Consulting, Bakersfield:
“We will start our first hull split sprays tomorrow (6/29) and that will continue for the next 10 to 14 days, depending on the location.
“We’re finding hull splitting around edges but very little splitting within the orchards quite yet. But with larger growers, it takes 10 to 14 days to spray everything, so we’ve got to start somewhere. By the end of next week, I suspect that almonds will be splitting very aggressively.
“Mites are still on the light side, kind of in the background. So far, no big flareups.
“Our main worry in almonds right now is rust, and it has started moving in some fields. Once it does begin moving, it doesn’t stop and it can roll on into September and cause a good deal of defoliation. You can’t stop it but we will add a fungicide with the hull split spray to slow it down.
“The objective now is to hold onto enough leaves to finish out this crop and set things up for 2020’s crop. Trees move into bud differentiation over the next 4 to 6 weeks, and trees need the leaves to produce enough carbohydrates to get the buds out when the time comes. We don’t want rust to weaken trees to the point that they fall short on that.
“We’ve seen this kind of defoliation happen before. It’s not the end of the world and you can get through it. But it’s something you’d just as soon avoid.
“In pistachios, we’re monitoring for plant bugs. All the mealybug sprays have wrapped up.
“In cotton, we’ve been fighting lygus. When the heat arrived in the first week of June, lygus exploded in our cotton north of Buttonwillow and we were finding 30 counts. As of Tuesday (6/25), they were still at 22 to 24. After 4 sprays, it still looks quite bad. At one point, they took off every square on 320 acres, and fields have probably lost 33% to 50% of the potential crop.
“The bottom crop isn’t there and plants are barely starting to make squares here at the end of June. It’s bad enough that several growers have wondered about disking up the worst fields. On top of all that, aphids are beginning to show up.
“South of Buttonwillow, square retention is less than normal but the situation is at least manageable. That area north of Buttonwillow tends to have heavy lygus pressure but it’s been 7 to 9 years since we had a year similar to this. In that year, we went into July without blooms. Right now, we’re just trying to find squares. We’ve got 7 or 8 main branches without any fruit on them.