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
Rains continued over the last week. Nobody is saying they wish it would stop raining – not in so many words, at least. But a run of dry weather would be welcomed by most people in the field. Scattered hail damage has been reported in the Sacramento Valley.
Disease pressure in almonds has been minimal, based on reports over the last couple of weeks.
Treatments continue for leaffooted bugs and stink bugs. Codling moths are on the move in the southern SJV.
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
Chris Morgner, PCA, Agri-Valley Consulting, Merced:
“Not much is going on in almonds in terms of pests. We have traps out for PTB and NOW and have been catching some. Our biofix for NOW was set around mid March and the biofix for PTB was around the first of April. A few growers plan on spraying on top of the timing, sometime around May 1. In the past 2 years that’s been an April spray, but this year the weather has pushed us back to a May spray.
“Most people probably won’t do anything during that period unless another factor drives the decision to get in the field. It would have to be something like treatments for leaffooted bugs or rust, and at that point we might include a lep-type material in the tank. We won’t do any mite applications until we see mites, which hasn’t happened so far.
“These occasional rains continue, but they’ve tended to be short-duration events. We applied a fungicide 3 to 5 weeks after petal fall, depending on the grower’s preference and whether he could get in the field. Some of those went out in mid March, although more treatments were made at the end of March.
“We haven’t applied a fungicide in almonds since then, and we’re not seeing any disease symptoms now, except brown rot strikes that happened back at bloom. Those are more apparent as they dry up, but it’s nothing serious.
“Everybody did the best they could to stay on top of bloom sprays, but the timing was dictated more by the weather than the stage of the tree. At times those treatments might have gone out too early when we did have a window for spraying – or, we had to wait longer than we would have liked until the airplane could get to us.
“With rains and the ET jumping around, we haven’t had to put any water on just for irrigation. Nitrogen mostly went on by ground ahead of rains. Where we did apply fertilizer with water, just enough water went on to make the application.
“Trees are certainly using water now and we went long enough without a rain that we wanted to put on the required amount of water, but then it rained again this morning (4/13), maybe a quarter of an inch, so we backed off.
“Pistachios and walnuts are blooming. In the older pistachio blocks we applied a fungicide late last week but don’t have a need right now to spray the younger trees. The same mostly goes for walnuts. In the older producing blocks we applied copper for blight. We haven’t done anything in younger walnut trees that are just coming into production. We haven’t seen any blight in those trees in past years, so we won’t spray.
“I’m starting to lose track of when it’s rained. It’s coming on multiple days. We might get rain in the morning, then it clears up, then that’s followed by a chance of showers in the afternoon.
“I haven’t seen any cotton up, although I’m sure some around here has emerged. One grower who farms on the San Joaquin River won’t be able to plant part of his acreage due to flooding and seepage. The river is full and so is its bypass.
“We’re trying to get tomatoes in the ground, but all the rain has really slowed that down. The schedule called for us to have 1,000 acres planted by now, but they’ve maybe got half of that in. Everybody is running behind. Delays have required us to make multiple burndown sprays on beds before planting.
“Alfalfa is quiet. People were going to begin baling hay, but the rain held them off on cutting. Most of the harvested hay, so far, was bagged.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties:
“We’ve had a wet week, plus cool temperatures, and more rain is in the forecast. We are now at the point that most guys wish it would quit raining. No moth catches so far.”
David A. Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, Merced County:
“Almonds have progressed to the point that we’re finding some good size on the fruit. With this week’s storms we are seeing a lot of smaller nuts on the ground and nuts that failed to set. This is what we would call the June drop, but it’s really just the first round of the tree rebalancing its load and adjusting for its carbohydrate capacity.
“It started raining last night (4/12) after being misty all day. Totals probably ran 0.15 to 0.2 of an inch – just enough to keep things consistently wet. Many people applied fungicides last week ahead of expected rain. That system didn’t amount to much, so they feel like those fungicides will hold through rains this week. Another little shower is supposed to pass through sometime next week, so we’re in one of those weather patterns when a really wet winter turns into a really wet spring.
“Many people report that trees are relatively free of disease, which indicates that everyone did a pretty good job with bloom-time disease management. We’ll now need protection for summer diseases like scab, rust and maybe alternaria. Treating for scab 2 to 5 weeks post petal fall usually takes care of it. Rust, though, could be a factor for the rest of the season, especially with this wet weather.
“We had wet weather at times last spring, and alternaria popped up in the Carmels. It could be a factor again this season in Carmels or other sensitive varieties. Refer to the disease severity value model (DSV) on the UC IPM website to get a better idea about where you stand.
“In pistachios, the unoiled trees are beginning to break and enter bloom. Oiled trees are in bloom, and that’s a pretty typical pattern. The unoiled trees usually run 7 to 10 days behind. If you’re thinking about spraying for botrytis, it’s time to plan for that.
“Walnuts are in bloom. A lot of people held off making a walnut blight spray last week ahead of a predicted storm, and that probably was the right decision, especially on some of the more tolerant varieties, like Chandler.
“I’m getting reports about leaffooted bugs through the county. I don’t know how bad they are or might become, but people in one PCA group have seen quite a few of them.
From Our Sponsor
“We’re getting questions about puffy leaves in almonds (see photo, click image to enlarge). This is kind of a white puffiness associated with veins on the underside of leaves. I sent some in for testing to see if this is a disease symptom, but the report said they were unable to find anything biological. I’m thinking this is due to cool temperatures that could trigger separation of leaf layers. I’ve seen this before, but I can’t say how cool it would have to be for this to happen.”
Rick Foell, Field Manager, Capay Farms, Hamilton City:
“We just had some hail (late afternoon, 4/13) and we’re trying to assess any visible damage. This affected both almonds and walnuts. We had some flooding from the rain that fell with the storm, and I’m seeing 3 to 4 inches of water coming off orchards in places, although I’m not finding any visible damage from the rain.
“At least a quarter-inch fell in certain areas. The storm also triggered a tornado alert. More rain is expected tonight. One report said the Chico area was running 10 inches ahead of normal rainfall this season. Areas near us had exceeded their highest rainfall on record for the period, which happened sometime in the early 1980s.
“In almonds we’ve been making our fifth-week post petal fall spray. Next week we had planned to evaluate how the crop looks. But with this rain and hail we’ll wait until things transition into a drier weather pattern. The best I can say right now is that the crop looks spotty.
“We are coming back with another fungicide in almonds. It’s been almost a month since the last application in some fields. We were scheduled to hit them next week. With this additional rain, the treatment may have to be pushed back.
“So far I haven’t seen any blooms in walnuts. We made our first blight spray across everything.”
Brian Gogue, PCA, Helena Chemical Co., Hanford:
“I just looked at a block of almonds in Hanford (late afternoon, 4/14) and I'm finding quite a few leaffooted plant bugs and some consperse stinkbugs, along with damage to the nuts. I will be writing this one up to spray ASAP.
“A couple of brief showers fell this morning, and I’m in another light one right now (late afternoon, 4/13) in north Hanford. We didn’t apply a fungicide ahead of this and don’t have any current plans to do so. Disease issues are very slight. Shot hole is about it, and I’ve only found very small instances. I saw some in a couple of second-leaf blocks today, but it would have to get much worse before I’d do anything.
“If it stops raining, the issue is behind us. If it continues raining, there’s no telling what we’ll see.
“Pistachios are moving along pretty good. We sprayed all of our Golden Hills last week with a preventive fungicide and foliars, then started spraying the Kermans at the end of last week and into this week.
“In walnuts we wrapped up the ReTain applications on the Tulares a couple of days ago. Fertilizer is going out in walnuts, as well as in pistachios, and we’re continuing that in the almonds.
“Tomatoes are moving along pretty well with no issues. Early on, we had beetles, but those seem to have gone away. We’re about 10 days from finishing tomato planting. Leafhoppers have been very minimal.
“A lot of our cotton has been planted, maybe 70% to 75% of the expected crop. The earliest stuff looks pretty good, overall. It’s not a perfect stand in places but seeds are still working at emerging. I’m also seeing some yellow plants that look pretty rough on top, but the root systems are almost perfect.
“I’m finding a few weevils here and there in alfalfa, but haven’t sprayed a field this year for them.
“Grapes are pretty quiet. We’re staying on schedule with fungicides. I’m watching katydid activity, but they’ve been pretty minimal up to this point.”
John Moore, PCA, Growers Crop Consulting, Bakersfield:
“In almonds some growers have started spraying for leaffooted plant bugs and including a fungicide. Others will start this weekend. Depending on the situation and the grower’s preference, we’re putting in a miticide on a prophylactic basis in some applications.
From Our Sponsor
“Leaffooted bugs are spotty, but people are somewhat gun shy about this pest, especially those who’ve been hurt by it in the past. Others are holding off on treatments. Today (4/14) I saw a few nuts that had been stung, but the punctures were very shallow and small, plus I found what looked like stink bug eggs. So, I’m almost positive that the damage in that case was due to stink bugs, not leaffooted plant bugs.
“That’s not to say leaffooted bugs aren’t out there. We’re generally finding them in spots with nearby overwintering hosts – near palm trees and pomegranates. In those places we’re actually finding leaffooted bugs and stings consistent with them.
“We can find mites in very small colonies – typically no more than some eggs and a couple of adults. But thrips also have cleaned them up in places or are working on them right now.
“It rained yesterday just enough to get my shirt a little damp. I doubt if leaves were wet enough to justify any concerns.
“We haven’t done anything yet in pistachios. Female flowers are blooming, but we haven’t made any sprays.
“I’m finding codling moths in walnuts. In one trap I counted 30 moths. That particular trap is on a rope and pulley and 30 feet up. You do expect to catch more moths as you go higher in the tree, but that’s the most I’ve caught in a single trap this season. And for this time of the year that’s a pretty high number, anyway.
“As far as NOW goes, I’m monitoring emergence from mummies that I collected earlier. We saw more emergence this week from that sample than in a month, so it looks like the emergence trend is underway.”
California Walnuts: Bot Management – What Recent Research Shows 4-7
California Pistachios: Model Correlates Yield Potential To Chilling 4-12
California Almonds: Trees Are Yellow? Here’s Why 4-15
California Small Grains: Leaf Disease Showing Up with the Wet Weather 4-10
California Almonds: Yellow Trees? Likely Means They’re Too Wet 4-10
California: How Does Herbicide Resistance Evolve? An Illustrated Guide 4-10
Think Farmland Prices Are High? Try $70,000-Plus An Acre 4-11
California: Airblast Sprayer Calibration Field Day, Arbuckle, April 25 4-7
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