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
Nut fill well underway. More of our contacts are slicing almonds now. Estimates of progress with nut fill vary, but some nuts are at least halfway filled.
Positive reports. More people are commenting about how good the crop looks. The Thursday subjective crop estimate projected the crop at 2.3 bln pounds, which would be a record. Connect to a summary in our Links section.
Insect activity. Leaffooted plant bugs are around but, at least so far, haven’t turned up in big numbers. Stink bug and myriad activity has been reported. Mites are mostly quiet. We’re hearing more reports about NOW applications that fit into the category of ‘mummy sprays’. These seem to be in cases where growers took a big hit from NOW last year and/or had doubts about their overall orchard sanitation.
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John Moore, PCA, Growers Crop Consulting, Bakersfield:
“It’s a nice crop. I can’t find any twospotted mites but I am seeing predatory mites and thrips. Stink bug eggs are turning up in places, but I’m finding very few bug stings. Where I have seen them, it’s been in very isolated locations. There are places in Kern County where people have lots of stings and they are spraying but I have not found enough stings in the areas where I work to justify spraying.
“The stings I have found were very shallow, which would be more like what you’d expect with stink bugs.
“We’re trying to keep weeds under control where growers went without residual sprays. Primarily, we’re treating for fleabane and in young blocks we’re spraying nutgrass, which is always a problem when you have a lot of light on the orchard floor. Our second alternaria spray will start in mid-May. The first one went out in mid-April.
“In pistachios, I’m picking up a few NOW adults. Counts aren’t high. The most I caught over the last month in a trap was 20 but counts are below 10 in all the traps this week. However, we replaced the lure this week, so we’ll see if numbers spike next week. Our thinning spray went out on apples.”
Brian Gogue, PCA, Helena Chemical Co., Hanford:
“Almonds are filling quite well at this point. Where I’ve been slicing this week, almonds are about 50% filled, on average. That ranges from nuts that are barely filled to some that are nearly filled.
“I detected a tiny bit of leaffooted bug damage this week and just found a leaffooted bug about an hour ago (afternoon, 5/11). So far, though, I haven’t treated anything. I sprayed all of my almonds for NOW about 7 to 14 days ago. I saw a little mite in one orchard this morning out west and that’s the only mite I’ve seen in anything this year except for some instances very early on.
“We’re keeping up with fertilizer at this point, trying not to fall behind as trees push ahead with nut fill.
“In almonds, we’re treating a couple of blocks next week for scale. I’ve never had to treat almonds for scale before now. A lot of pressure developed on a ranch out west, with some dieback on lower branches. It’s also turned up on an older block in Lemoore and in another in Hanford. I think this gets back to the drought years when we quit using oil in dormant sprays and now scale has started building.
“Pistachios are sizing up quite nicely. Any type of bug damage has been very minimal and difficult to find. I’m seeing some mealy bug emergence as the crawlers hatch out, and we’ll start spraying a few blocks next week for that.
“Walnuts are pretty quiet overall. No issues have developed with codling moths or mites. We had decent NOW moth trap counts but we’re just monitoring that. Botryosphaeria sprays will start next week. In a couple of walnut blocks, we will include something to assist with the control of nematodes. We are seeing a decent amount of phytophthora and have found some dieback with that.
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“Cotton is coming along slowly due to these relatively cool temperatures. Stands mostly look pretty good. I’ve found a tiny bit of fusarium. Otherwise, seedling diseases aren’t bad. Alfalfa is very quiet. Tomatoes are moving along pretty well – not as fast as I’d like but at least progressing. I found a little thrips activity in places this morning and saw just a handful of plants with tomato spotted wilt symptoms. We’ll be treating the thrips. In places, the second systemic is going out in drip systems.”
Jack Gonzales, PCA/CCA, Supervised Control Service, LLC, Bakersfield:
“Almonds are eerily quiet right now – no disease to speak of and very little pest pressure. This morning (5/11) I wrote a recommendation for chinch bugs in first-year trees and that’s been it.
“We put out routine sprays for alternaria where we have bad problems with it. That’s the second alternaria application. This year we’re doing some comparisons with the UC disease severity value (DSV) model for alternaria. Some growers we work with will make 3, 4 or even 5 sprays in parts of orchards and then we’ll also base treatments in other trees on the DSV. So far, the DSV criteria for treatment hasn’t been met.
“Pistachios are also pretty quiet. Some growers wrapped up their first foliar and insect sprays and others are still working on theirs. In most cases, the crop potential looks good. This is an ‘on’ year for most of our pistachios.
“Some trees are potentially coming into their first year of production but we’re unsure how that will work out. The Kermans and Peters did not sync up well, so we’re not sure how pollination went. Potentially, though, this could be a good year for our pistachio growers.
“We had to spray about 300 acres of fourth-leaf pistachios for chinch bugs. Oddly enough, we also had to strip some cotton for chinch bugs where they were killing plants on the edges. We’re seeing some fusarium wilt in cotton. Our biggest plants right now are at about the second node.”
Chris Morgner, PCA, Agri-Valley Consulting, Merced:
“It’s been quite windy today (5/11), maybe the strongest winds this spring. Almonds are fairing nicely.
“Earlier this week we did find some rust in an orchard. We went ahead and pulled the trigger in that case. We looked everywhere else but that was the only rust we found this week. We did treat some rust a couple of weeks ago at Los Banos.
“Treatments for leaffooted bugs went out in just a few scattered orchards. A few of my clients had said they wanted to treat NOW populations, and that has wrapped up. NOW were bad last year for some people and maybe they didn’t feel like they got trees as clean as they wanted. But the majority of growers opted not to spray.
“Almonds are well into nut fill. I found some nuts the other day that were more than half filled with white, solid kernel material. So, we’re really in the crunch time for water and nutrients. We’re already finding broken branches in a few places and in 2 weeks they’ll be carrying even more weight. It’s a sign of a good crop.
“In pistachios, we did treat for small plant bugs – not lygus but myriads. We found them, plus damage in places. No spraying in walnuts since our early blight sprays in the early varieties. Weed control is the only thing going on in cotton. No issues in alfalfa. Any problems in tomatoes are localized and limited.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties:
“The weather this week has been seasonal, maybe a bit warmer, but nothing extreme except for very windy conditions today (5/11). No disease issues.
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“We’re finding insects in traps but no mites. I’m not hearing about any extreme trap counts. Where I’ve seen any kind of numbers it’s probably been due to an adjoining source.
“I’m getting feedback about growers putting out May sprays, although some of that is falling into the category of mummy sprays. PCAs say that where growers were hurt last year by NOW, they’re using every option, even though these sprays might now be as valuable as treatments ahead of harvest.
“In walnuts, we’re coming up on timing for our first shot of nitrogen and the recommendation is to apply 25% of the budget in May. One PCA who monitors a lot of codling moth traps figures that we’re just coming through the 1A flight. If growers treated for that flight, it seemed to be where they had more of a history with codling moths.”
David A. Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, Merced County:
“Where I’ve checked Nonpareils, they are about a third of the way through kernel fill. It’s been relatively warm this week but windy today (5/11). It’s supposed to be warm through next week, as well, so water demand is ramping up.
“Insects are hit or miss. Some people have found leaffooted plant bugs but I’m also hearing reports of stink bugs. NOW traps continue lighting up. So, a lot of insects are out there.”
California Almonds: A Much Bigger Crop Expected, Despite Freeze Damage – USDA 5-10
Georgia Pecans: Chinese Tariffs And Economic Effect If They Go Into Effect 5-11
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