“Overall, the crop down here looks excellent, with potential for pretty good yields. It’s looked that way all year and some orchards obviously are carrying a nice load of nuts. I know the statewide estimate is lower but we actually feel pretty positive about how things are shaping up around here.
“In pistachios, I haven’t seen a split yet, although it’s still pretty early to expect much of that. We’re not doing a NOW spray at the 1,700 degree-day point. Last year, we waited until 2,200 degree days and even held off a little longer than that until we saw splits. Then we treated. This year, we’ll probably make that application really late in July or early in August.
“I haven’t had any real bug issues in pistachios but we did make a couple of bug sprays through the season to keep things down. I’ve been watching for citrus flat mite but have only found a little damage. With mealybugs, treatments have held up really well and I haven’t seen any mealybugs, myself.
“In cotton, we’re still spraying lygus. They aren’t as bad as they were earlier. Most problems have been next to alfalfa that was being cut, and lygus boiled out of that. Immatures have been increasing pretty good in certain fields. Aphids already were coming in, so we applied Transform to control both.
“Twospotted spider mites are turning up in upland cotton fields and we’ll probably spray them on a couple of ranches. This week, I found my first whitefly in cotton for the year. We usually start seeing them by July 20. It’s mid-July, so this is about right. Worm activity has been hit or miss in our cotton.
“In alfalfa, we’re spraying the first field this year for yellowstriped armyworms and black cowpea aphids. We were right on the verge of treating earlier but then the grower cut that hay. Activity is obvious in several other fields, and with this heat we’ll probably have to treat them, too. It was almost like you turned a faucet on – suddenly, we found aphids.
“Tomato harvest is under way. Yields are running 10 to 15 tons per acre less than in 2018 but yields last year were really good. Growers plowed up a few fields because the crop was too bad to justify the cost of harvesting it.
“Heavy rains earlier, plus scattered hail, really beat up plants. All the rain kind of opened up the plants and a lot of that crop aborted. We knew all that weather would affect the crop but you don’t know how much until harvest starts. It was just one of those years.
“As of tonight (7/12), every one of our clients with tomatoes will be harvesting.
“Powdery mildew has been an issue in watermelons. Often, it comes in really late, like in August or early September, but this year it has already blown up in a number of fields. We’ve been spraying fungicides and applying a wash-type material. The mildew pressure is pretty much related to all the rain.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Colusa, Sutter and Yuba Counties:
“I think we’re mostly at the tail end of the first hull split spray in this area. Sprayers have been running this week, mostly at night. Egg laying seems to vary. I’ve talked to people who say they’re not finding much in terms of eggs or moths but a grower said that plenty of eggs are being laid where his PCA has been checking.
“These eggs are from the second NOW generation. As hull split progresses. the percentage of traps with egg should increase, and that’s already happening a bit. In the week of July 2, eggs were present on only one trap at the Nickels Soil Lab. But out of 10 traps this week, a significant number of eggs had been laid on 2 traps.
“As we move into that third generation, we will find eggs on most if not all of the traps. That generation usually begins at the end of July or in early August.
“In walnuts, we haven’t seen any husk fly yet in our traps but a colleague reported a few being caught in late June in places on the east side of the valley. That’s pretty early to catch husk fly but those were apparently hot spots.”
Chris Cucuk, Cucuk Consulting Inc., Bakersfield:
“Our first hull split sprays have been completed and our second sprays will start next week. Our first spray did not include a miticide because we just didn’t have mite pressure, but a miticide will go out with the second spray for sure. In some blocks, we included a fungicide for rust, alternaria and hull rot.