“Naval orangeworm mummy sprays went out a month ago. Mating disruption pheromone puffers are out in all orchards. We rely on them to take care of NOW until hull split when we make a NOW spray and also include a miticide.
“Almond limbs are getting very heavy and drooping. Growers hope those limbs stay strong and don’t break. Nuts still are beginning to fill in and still have gel inside.
“Pistachio growers finished mealy bug sprays and, hopefully, also gained protection against frosted scale and plant bug. A foliar nutrient also went on with the spray. Towards the middle to end of June, we start finding alternaria and botryosphaeria.
“Fertilizer is also going on in pistachios. Towards the end of June, we will apply another dose of nitrogen to aid with nut fill.
“The tomato crop is coming along well, and it’s just over a month until harvest starts. I’m guessing harvest will start about July 6, just a touch earlier than usual. We haven’t sprayed for worms yet. However, we are beginning to catch a few cabbage loopers. Growers treated for thrips and tomato spotted wilt virus, and we are dusting sulfur on tomatoes as a preventative for powdery mildew.
“Cotton is trending a week later than average. The oldest plants have 8 to 9 nodes and look healthy. Thrips and mites are present on the upland varieties. Growers planted fewer acres or didn’t plant this year at all due to the 15% water allocation for the area.
“Corn growers are spraying for mite and irrigating. Growers finished fertilizing.”
Tony Touma, PCA, Bio Ag Consulting, Bakersfield
“We have seen just about every insect this year among the different crops in the area. We have found stink bug and leaffooted bug in more locations, although in smaller numbers in those areas.
“I scouted a few young almond orchards and saw low spider mite pressure. We will treat because the mites are so widespread across the fields. When the temperatures reach 100-plus degrees for an extended period, mites always blow up. They are mostly hard to find, but we still have a long way to go until harvest, and things can change. Thrips and predatory mites are around, but in our area they never can fully contain mite populations.
“Rust is present in 75% of the fields in our area. Of those diseased areas, 10% have rust in an advanced stage. That week-long storm last month delivered the conditions that favor heavy rust development in Kern County. We have a history of rust, but it generally isn’t a problem until the end of the season. This year, rust is more advanced.
“The majority of growers in our area have applied a fungicide for alternaria and rust, and some have sprayed three or more times.
“Irrigation continues to play an essential role in orchard management.
“This year, growers will learn how to manage hybrid rootstock. These rootstocks are very vigorous and require intense pruning and tying methods. In the first 3 to 4 years, hybrid rootstocks grow quickly. Plus, they produce a heavy crop concentrated on the top portion of the tree. Growers who prune the branches and top the tree can force more robust growth. Branches fall and start to weep when tying isn’t done high enough to support the large crop.
“Growers will have to deal with this in a high number of orchards as this crop progresses. If orchards with these hybrid rootstocks are improperly managed, we can expect damage. It could take up to five years to rebuild those trees.
“In pistachios, chinch bug numbers have been building, especially in weedy areas. Chinch bugs can move into young pistachio trees and kill the tree within 48 hours. You can’t let them get out of control.
“In the last ten days, growers have been treating for mealybug on a wide basis. They also included an insecticide for plant bugs. Small populations of frosted scale are present, nothing at treatment level.
“Cotton is running behind. Plants are in the fourth to fifth node range.”
Doug Elrich, PCA, Big Valley Ag, Gridley
“We’ve been watching for mites as temperatures rose to 100 degrees for most of the week. The forecast calls for a swing down to mid-70s for Saturday (5/30), which will help the predatory mites hold spider mites at bay.
“Growers are finishing nitrogen and potassium applications. Weed spraying continues. Irrigation and rain have sprouted a lot of field bindweed and johnsongrass.
“Fungicides have been going out all month on an on-and-off basis. Most growers applied a fungicide two weeks ago during the last storm, which brought a couple of inches of rain. As the temperatures swing lower this weekend, another chance of rain is in the forecast.
“The almond crop looks good. However, it’s a heavy crop, and it’s breaking limbs and weeping branches, especially in younger orchards. Growers want to maximize growth and yield, but it’s also essential to build strong branches to support large crops. Harvest is quickly approaching and looks slightly earlier than usual, and we plan to start hull-split sprays towards the end of June or the beginning of July.
“In walnuts, the 1B codling moth sprays went out a week or two ago. Trap counts are low now. Based on the biofix, the second flight most likely will take shape in mid to late June. We will be monitoring mite pressure. Most likely, we will include a miticide with that spray. With more rain this weekend’s forecast, we will be watching closely for blight and botryosphaeria pressure. Most growers sprayed a fungicide before the last storm.