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
Hull split sprays should crank up early this week in the lower San Joaquin Valley (if a few applications haven’t already been made). These first sprays tend to be on large farming operations where an early start is necessary to get across all the acreage before issues develop.
Overall, hull split should be on about a normal schedule, our contacts continue to say.
Spider mites have become a little more apparent in places and more acres have been sprayed in the last week. But even in the lower SJV, this remains a low-mite year.
Dale Deshane, PCA, Supervised Control, Bakersfield:
“We started treating a few more blocks for mites last week. These were cases where we didn’t think we could hold off until hull split. It’s been just a block here or there.
“It’s 105 right now (late afternoon, 6/15), which would be the kind of weather that pushes mites, but it’s supposed to be in the low to mid 80s for the next 3 days. We’ve had these temperature fluctuations all year, so it’s hard to guess what kind of pattern we’ll have with the weather or with mites. I still think we can make it to the hull split spray on most blocks. In places with mites, we’re now finding six-spotted thrips, so we’ve got beneficials.
“One grower will start his hull split sprays on Monday (6/18). He has a lot of acres to cover and has to begin early. By the end of next week, more treatments should start south of Bakersfield and then growers will make their first sprays in the last week of June in areas around Shafter, Wasco and Buttonwillow.
“Some people in our area have been treating stink bugs. It’s nothing widespread, just places here and there. So far, I haven’t had to treat stink bugs and I haven’t treated plant bugs in a while.
“We’re seeing a slow increase in alternaria in blocks that are historically bad. It seems to pick up a bit every week. We’ll probably do one more fungicide at hull split and I think that will be it. That would be our fourth application on bad blocks. But with a lot of our almonds, we haven’t applied a fungicide at all, other than some early bloom sprays.
“In the last couple of weeks, we’ve started seeing a little more scab in hard shells, and we’ll probably include a fungicide for those blocks when we spray for mites in that part of the crop.
“NOW trap counts are on the high side on a pretty consistent basis in most blocks where we don’t have puffers.
“Our pistachios are pretty clean, bug-wise. I’ve seen phytocoris where we’re using beating trays but haven’t seen any real outbreaks of stink bugs or leaffooted bugs. If we make a preventive spray for alternaria in pistachios, we’re looking at the very end of June or the first of July. At that point, we’ll possibly include something for bugs. One of our pistachio orchards has alternaria every year and we’ve already made a preventive treatment there.
“In cotton, we started our first couple of weeks of squaring with low lygus counts – zeros and ones. But going into the third week, a 3-day hot spell developed and that brought the lygus out. We saw a few counts up to maybe 10. That was last week, and we probably sprayed 1,000 acres then. This week we’re treating a few more fields here and there.
“Overall, counts this year have been nothing like what we experienced in 2017. Lygus were horrendous last year – 15 to 20 counts. Where alfalfa was cut this year, we’ve had 7 to 8 counts. When you do have those high counts like last year, spraying decisions are a no-brainer. But if counts run 3 to 6, that’s when it takes time to reach a conclusion because you’ve got to look for pinhead damage. If pinheads have dried up on the plant or you’re finding pinhead squares in the net, it’s lygus.
“Where we have sprayed lygus so far, treatments are holding well and we haven’t had to come back with a second application.
“Where growers wanted to water cotton early and didn’t put on a miticide ahead of irrigation, we found twospotted mites when they finished, so we treated those fields. Stink bugs have been hit and miss. We’ll find one every now and then when we’re sweeping. We always expect them in the peppers but as of today, we haven’t found any damage in peppers. With the first heat wave, stink bugs usually come in like crazy. For whatever reason this year, they’re not around.
“Cotton is growing like a weed and most is fruiting well, and we’re putting a lot of Pix on it.
“In tomatoes, the earliest harvest is estimated to start around July 7 or July 8. We’ve seen a little increase in powdery mildew and treated some tomatoes a second time. So far, no late blight in anything. A small increase in fruit worms developed 10 or 12 days ago and we included a material for them with a mildew treatment. Some of my early tomatoes appear to have a nice crop.
“In alfalfa, we’ve seen traces of yellowstriped armyworms but the numbers haven’t taken off.”
David A. Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, Merced County:
“I’ve had a few calls about various wilts, including a couple concerning verticillium wilt in almonds and pistachios. This problem is much more severe in pistachios. In almonds, the disease tends to ‘heat cure’ as temperatures warm up. You’ll see symptoms but the effects could be minor. Essentially, almonds grow through it.
“With pistachios, though, trees go into a gradual decline and die. It’s the same disease but with different outcomes.
“We’re still a couple of weeks off from any hull split sprays, I think. I don’t see much activity on the nuts toward splitting. Let’s avoid jumping the gun on treatments this year. Properly time NOW sprays because we have a high population out there. Make sure the product goes on at the right time.
“We’re in that period to treat for ants in almonds, especially if using an insect growth regulator (IGR). With an IGR, the worker takes it down into the ground where the material essentially kills the colony. So, it needs more time to take effect compared to other approaches.
“Ant control is becoming a little more important in Merced County because we’re seeing the gradual spread of imported fire ants. They were maybe brought into this area 10 years ago. Budgets for early control programs were cut, so very little has been done to keep them from moving into new areas. Keep an eye out for them and treat.
“A few sprays have gone out in almonds for spider mites. Where anyone has found them, it’s mainly been on edges.
“In pistachios, we should be ramping up for kernel fill, which is probably 10 days out (from 6/15. So, line up your nitrogen, potassium and water.”
Gary Gliddon, PCA, Treevine Consulting, Modesto:
“We’re mostly on cruise control with the almonds as things move toward hull split. Fertilizer applications wrapped up and we’re keeping trees watered. No problems are showing up – no mites and I haven’t seen any disease, either. Mainly, growers are asking about what to do with weeds.
“Hull split definitely won’t start any sooner than June 28. The weather hasn’t been that hot, so temperatures aren’t driving development along. We’ve gotten into hot days but then it cools off again.
“My walnuts are in good shape. I’m not seeing any blight issues and can hardly find a codling moth in the field.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties:
“The weather remains on this rollercoaster trend. The forecast for today (6/15) said we’ll have a high in the upper 80s or maybe the low 90s, depending on the location. But in places in the middle of the week the highs flirted with 100, at least in places. This weekend is supposed to be somewhat cool but I’m seeing predictions for triple-digit highs for a couple of days in the middle of next week.
“A PCA said he’s finding mites here and there but no one has seen a lot of mite pressure overall. Many guys applied abamectin in May as a preventive, but even growers who didn’t make that application don’t have a lot of mite pressure.
“It’s time to focus on ants and also to prepare for hull split sprays. I think we’re probably 3 weeks out on hull split sprays. Experienced PCAs think that timing this year will be about normal, historically speaking. That has been about July 4. With the drought years, it was maybe a week earlier.”
Sara Savary, PCA, Crop Care Associates, Fresno:
"Mites are starting to come up in almonds and also in stone fruit. I guess we’ve had enough hot weather now to wake them up. I’m not going to spray them in almonds right now because the hull split spray is about 2 weeks away (from 6/16).
“We’ll probably start hull split applications in the first week of July, maybe earlier, depending on how things go. Our first sprays started last year in about that same time frame. NOW counts began going up last week.
“In walnuts, we’ll do our 2A codling moth spray next week. That’s a little earlier than we might go but we’re trying to work around water availability and irrigation timing in certain places.
“My tallest cotton is at 12 nodes. I haven’t seen any pests. I’m not finding worm activity in tomatoes or any of my other crops, including alfalfa.”
California Walnuts: Staying On Point Through August 6-11
California Almonds: Orchard Management Checklist – June-Aug. 6-14
California: Fed. Court Blocked Attempted Glyphosate Warning Label – DTN 6-14
California Almonds: Leafing Failure in Monterey Varieties 6-14
California Almonds: July Leaf Fertility Analysis 6-15
California Almonds: Irrigation Management for Hull Rot Control 6-15
California: Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum – Maximize Your Water Efficiency 6-15
Ag Groups Tweet: #TradeNotTariffs in Push Against Trump Tariff Plan – DTN 6-15
Subscribe To This Weekly Report
AgFax Tree Crops, formerly AgFax Almonds, is published weekly during the crop production season.
AgFax Tree Crops span> is published byAgFax Media LLC 142 Westlake DriveBrandon, MS 39047-9020. 601-992-9488 Owen Taylor, Editor and Publisher.
For subscription inquiries, please contact Laurie Courtney -
© 2018, AgFax Media LLC
Need to change your subscription info? Do it here