Here is this week's issue of AgFax Tree Crops.
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Owen Taylor, Editor
Worms are turning up on field edges in some almond blocks and we’re hearing about scattered follow-up sprays.
Spider mites continue to ramp up in places. Applications are being made in places, even where miticides were included with hull split sprays.
A small amount of shaking might begin in the southern San Joaquin Valley over the next week.
In walnuts, codling moth counts vary widely, depending on the area. Counts range from hardly any to surprisingly high numbers. More treatments have gone out for the 2B flight. Some husk fly treatments also are being made, either solo or with codling moth applications. Miticides have been going out and some walnut blocks have now received a second application, either on edges or on whole blocks
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties
“A grower told me this week that he feels like he’s in the eye of a hurricane – everything is remarkably quiet but chaos is coming, meaning harvest. There’s nothing much to do right now except wait. The trees are doing their own thing and the crop is progressing to harvest.
“I’m starting to see some splits in the Winters out on the ends of rows. We’re at about 1,500 degree days from the NOW biofix, which puts us maybe 2 to 3 weeks away from the next flight of NOW in this area. Also, we’re about 2,000 degree days past the biofix for PTB.
“We’ve been on this roller coaster with the weather, from terribly hot – 105 to 110 – and then down to more seasonable conditions. Nights have fluctuated in that same pattern.
“Mite are here and there, mainly depending on the grower’s program. We’re getting close to the cutoff for ant baits.
“Shaking might start in some of the more stressed blocks in the first week of August, but shaking in the main part of the crop probably won’t get underway until mid-August. I don’t expect any shaking in this area in July.
“Some walnut growers are coming in with a second spray for mites. Not too many husk flies are present in walnuts. People are treating where they find them. We have been catching a lot of codling moths. That’s in contrast to what appears to be low numbers of NOW moths.
“Plenty of people are wondering where all these codling moths come from and, along with that, where did all the NOW moths go. The concern with not finding a key insect like NOW moths is that you’re afraid you’re missing something.”
Aaron Heinrich, Independent Crop Advisor, Agronomic Systems, Escalon
“We’re still making some hull split applications for worms and scouting around for ants so ant bait can go out.
“We are making some follow-up applications in almonds for mites. In places, we treated early and we’re now finding them coming back. Also, treatments are going out in blocks where we haven’t sprayed until now.
“Last week the highs were in the 100s, but this week it’s cooled down into the 90s, which should hold through this week. We needed a break. Any shaking is still a ways off. Some growers have started into pre-harvest weed control.
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“In walnuts, we’re treating for codling moths. This is the 2B flight. Trap counts have been way up. Also, we’re seeing husk fly and are using a combination material to control both. Whether we treat the 2A, the 2B or both will vary from year to year and from one grower to the next. With some growers this year, we have made applications for both flights.
“Just as in almonds, spider mites are starting to appear in walnuts and miticide applications have started.”
David A. Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, Merced County
“I’m hearing scattered reports of insect damage in the early-split almonds. People are finding damage from PTB and also NOW. This is a bit concerning and maybe indicates more pressure than was initially expected. So, check closely and treat if needed.
“There’s no way to know yet, but my guess is that the PTB flight lined right up with this year’s hull split, which doesn’t always happen. That probably added some extra pressure in trying to control any type of insect damage at harvest. So, keep an eye out, especially on trees that weren’t treated or in any young trees.
“You may see an increased incidence of PTB as we go into hull split. PTB is different than NOW, although they cause similar issues. Both feed on the kernel. NOW tends to be a little more aggressive and those populations tend to be higher. But PTB can damage the nut, which attracts NOW.”
Dan Prentice, Prentice Ag Consulting, Bakersfield
“Highs are still over 100 pretty much every day but not by far. In almonds, we’re very close to starting some shaking. I haven’t seen any yet, but some of mine are very close. Growers are mainly waiting for more blocks to be ready so they don’t have to start and stop once things begin rolling. These first blocks are on sandier ground in the southern valley and are typically early.
“We’re trying to keep tabs on mites. They left us alone for most of the year but I guess they’re exacting their revenge on us now. We sprayed everything with a miticide at hull split but through all this hot weather the mites really exploded in places. In a handful of instances we’ve had to treat again, mostly on edges where they were getting bad.
“I’ve found a few worms on edges but not nearly to the extent that they were turning up at this same time last year. Where I’m sampling, I’ll find a couple of worms on edges. But then I can’t find any when I go 4 or 5 trees into the block. That’s usually the way it goes since those first splits tend to be on edges. Most of what I’m finding are either worms or large pupae that have been there for a while.
“In pistachios, the nuts are filling. In some of my early varieties, like Golden Hills, a lot are close to being fully filled. The Kermans are mostly half filled. I’m coming across early splits in pistachios but no worms in them so far. I’m really not seeing a lot of early splits anywhere, just here or there.
“Our cotton is actually looking better, and I’m cautiously optimistic at this point. Lygus vary. In places, I can find quite a few of them, but not 20 counts or anything like that. It’s been more like 7 counts, which is treatable, and we’re managing those. In other areas they’ve tapered down to 2 and 3 counts. With less lygus pressure now, we’re setting a much better crop than we were earlier.
“More aphids are showing up, which is normal about now. Nothing has been treated specifically for aphids. These are mostly just trace levels. In areas where we tend to see whitefly, a few are showing up – nothing treatable yet but we’re probably not far away from starting.
“We’re getting close to wrapping up tomatoes. No issues right now. We treated 10 or 12 days ago (from 7/20) for tomato fruit worms. A fungicide went out at the same time, and hopefully that will get us through to the end. Some are close to harvest and probably have another 10 days or so to go.
“Alfalfa has kind of slowed down. We’ve really been fighting worms for a while, but it’s not as intensive now as it was about 10 days ago. It mainly started with western yellowstriped armyworms, but it’s transitioned to mostly beet armyworms. A small amount of alfalfa caterpillars are around, although nothing treatable that I’ve seen.”
Nathan Stewart, PCA, AgVantage Consulting, Inc., Visalia
“Hull split is well underway on the Nonpareils. It’s running a little behind last year. It appears that we’re another couple of weeks from shaking in the earliest spots. Most likely, that puts it in the first or second week of August, although in a few locations we might begin before the end of July.
“We’re starting to detect some NOW pressure on borders in certain locations, and we’ve taken action against that with second sprays. We’re finishing up those second sprays about now (7/20) But for the most part, I’m hoping that we only need to spray once.
“Mites have not let up. After 3 to 4 weeks of mostly triple-digit highs, the pressure has been bad. We’ve had to treat a second time in places and have even made a third miticide application in some spots. A bit of hull rot has developed in spots, and it seems a bit early to find that in Nonpareils right now.
“In pistachios, we’re lining up NOW treatments on the 2,200-degree-day mark. Where growers have a lot of acres, we’re already spraying just so we can get across everything in a reasonable time. We’re also checking closely for citrus flat mite and are protecting against that, too.
“We’re wrapping up nutrient sprays aimed at bud retention. Nut fill varies in pistachios, but in spots it’s up to 80%. Depending on the degree of nut fill, one last fertilizer application is going out.
“Walnuts are pretty quiet. I caught a few husk fly here and there, nothing significant so far. Codling moths have been pretty quiet in my area. We’re making sure mites don’t blow up in walnuts, and we’ve treated some borders.”
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