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 are well underway across a big portion of our coverage area. In places, the splitting has been somewhat sporadic.
Spider mite activity has picked up in some blocks but no one has reported huge surges.
In pistachios, nut fill is gaining momentum.
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties:
Hull split is happening through a bigger portion of the southern Sacramento Valley. As of late this week, though, splitting still hadn’t started everywhere. At the Nickels Soil Lab, we began spraying Thursday night (7/5) and will finish Sunday night. That’s probably the case to varying degrees in the Arbuckle area where the lab is located.
“NOW trap counts started picking up a little at Nickels in the third week of June, which is a bit early to see that trend ahead of hull split. That parallels trap numbers recorded by Emily Simms (Area IPM advisor based in Oroville).
“We are into the second generation of egg laying, but we don’t know how far into it we actually are. We saw a spike in NOW populations on June 19, which is early by about 10%, going by the model. But if you run the model backwards, we had a little warm stretch toward the end of March, which may account for this earlier trend. Overall, we had a ‘warmish’ winter, despite those cold conditions in February.
“When we did have that warmer period in late March, the NOW traps weren’t up yet. We always put up traps at the beginning of April, but maybe this tells us we should get them in place in mid-March.
“How worried should you be about worms showing up early? As long as you’re spraying on crop development and when splitting starts, you should be okay. We won’t gain a clearer idea about population trends, of course, until we move into the third generation.
“A lot of people stop trapping when they begin spraying. But if moths appeared early, then consider keeping the traps up and checking them so we gain a better idea about activity and what’s still out there. Sometimes those third and fourth generations can get scary. The weather has been kind of humid, and some hull split sprays included a fungicide for hull rot. Research says that can help with the bread mold type of hull rot.
“I know I keep talking about this rollercoaster weather, but it continues. It’s 82 right now (afternoon, 7/6), which is maybe 10 degrees cooler than normal. This year has been a series of peaks, with highs into triple digits or at least into the high 90s, and nights in the 70s. After that, daytime highs fall into the upper 80s or maybe the low 90s.
“The forecast now says that things will warm up into the upper 90s and low 100s and stay like that for a period, with maybe cooler-than-average conditions in the second half of July.”
John Moore, PCA, Growers Crop Consulting, Bakersfield:
About 99% of our Nonpareils have now had a hull split spray. We’re planning on making one more application in mid-July ahead of harvest. Hull split varies. It’s barely showing in some orchards (as of 7/6) and in other locations splitting has progressed quite well. This mostly depends on soil type – and the variety makes a difference, too.
“I’m seeing a little more stink bug activity in almonds than in the past. I was finding the eggs but the bugs are there now, too.
“In pistachios, NOW counts are low. Other people tell me their counts are high, with some that are really high. We’re scheduled to change lures, so we’ll see how numbers trend next week. We did the 1700-degree-day spray.
“We sprayed some apples for codling moths. That would be the 2A flight. Nothing is going on in alfalfa in terms of insects that matter, although the fields are full of lygus.”
Brian Gogue, PCA, Helena Chemical Co., Hanford:
About 80% of my orchards have received their first hull split spray, and we started spraying last Thursday (6/28). We haven’t gotten to some third-leaf blocks yet that have been really slow on maturity.
“Whether we do a second spray will depend on the condition of the orchard but in most cases we will come back with another application. We saw a good deal of egg laying on the early splits everywhere right off the bat.
“At this point, we’re including a miticide on just about everything. Mites aren’t doing much but we began seeing them over the last couple of weeks. This is my first miticide spray this year on almost everything I have. Mites didn’t amount to anything last year early on. But as we moved into mid to late June, they became horrendous.
“Walnuts are quiet. We did our big spray in mid-June and everything is holding pretty well. We’re making a second sun block spray on certain fields.
“Pistachios are moving along. We’re giving them all the water, nitrogen and potassium they need at this point. Nuts started filling about 2 weeks ago in certain varieties.
“Overall, our cotton is very quiet and it looks phenomenal in most cases. Very little lygus have developed and I still have fields that I haven’t treated for lygus this year. In a lot of cotton, squares are stacking on top of squares. It’s really enjoyable to look at cotton right now.
“In alfalfa, we sprayed a couple of fields last week for beet armyworms where fresh hatches were coming on, but most fields are still pretty quiet.
“In tomatoes, I’ve sprayed one field this year for worms and that was this week. I included a fungicide. We’re still applying fungicides on most of these fields, whether it’s a liquid material or dusting sulfur. We’re finding a fair amount of mildew. We aren’t having trouble keeping it in check but it’s just kind of hanging in there. Overall, tomatoes look very good and the first harvester is supposed to hit the field next Wednesday (7/11).”
Jack Gonzales, PCA/CCA, Supervised Control Service, LLC, Bakersfield:
My hull split sprays have kind of been spread out. The first application started on June 21 and I will have had them going from then up until this coming weekend (7/7-8). That’s when some guys will finally make their first hull split shot.
“Splitting has been a very sporadic process. Most blocks that I consult on have barely approached 1%. We found a lot of early splits on edges but then it came to a standstill as you moved deeper into the blocks. I’m not sure why. We had days with hot weather, and I thought that would push things along but it didn’t happen. We’re supposed to move into a heat wave that will linger in the 103 to 106 range for the next 15 days or so (from 7/6), and that may speed things up.
“On Monday, June 25, we started finding almonds along edges that were just covered up in NOW eggs. With our biofix, that was about the right timing for the start of the second flight. It still amazes me how precisely those moths lay eggs right in the suture.
“Spider mites are still mostly quiet in the older producing trees, and I’ve included a miticide in very few of the hull split sprays so far. They are kind of increasing now. Mite pressure developed late in the last 2 seasons and this year it’s coming on even later. Mites, though, definitely increased in the first- and second-year trees. Treatments went out in the last 2 to 3 weeks in certain of those orchards. Some didn’t hold and are having to be repeated.
“We can find a few lingering green stink bug problems around. I checked an orchard this morning (7/6) that was getting pretty beat up with juvenile stink bugs. We’ll start the second hull split spray next week and will include a pyrethroid for that where needed. It’s weird how they are turning up just here and there. We may not find any sign of them but then walk into an orchard a week later and find gumming right away.
“These are sort of exploratory pokes. Sometimes the stink bug gets through the nut, sometimes it doesn’t. But even if they don’t get down to the nut, that can still cause rejects.
“With this heat, alternaria is increasing. In my case, it’s in the Monterey and Independence varieties. With first hull split sprays, we’ve included a fungicide in areas with a strong history of it. Depending on the ranch, that would have been the third, fourth or even fifth alternaria shot. In terms of alternaria, things have looked better when we did spray that much. The accepted approach around here is 3 sprays, but in my worst areas I find that we can’t control alternaria with just a 3-spray program.
“In pistachios, nut fill is underway. The potential for blanks looks pretty low where I’ve been checking. A couple of growers who aren’t clients said that’s their impression, too. However, two consultants say they see higher potential for blanks in eastern Kern County, although I don’t work any pistachios in that area.
“Where we have a history of alternaria, we started a second spray in those pistachios this week. Some of the Peters variety already had moderate to heavy alternaria.
“The cotton I’m working this year remains surprisingly quiet. I haven’t written a lygus recommendation yet. Most counts are still at zero, with an occasional 1 or 2. Plants are still squaring nicely. The grower is in the middle of his second shot of water and will go out with Pix shortly. Otherwise, I’m just finding single aphids around, nothing at threshold. Fruit retention is impressive. We’ll see what this next round of heat does to it.”
David A. Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, Merced County:
We’re into hull split and sprays have started. Right now (7/6), we’re still waiting for splitting in certain locations. On the west side, the process is nearly halfway completed. With this heat, NOW will likely flare. We saw similar situations last year. Depending on how the populations go, people who normally make a single application may want to consider a second treatment.”
Jhalendra Rijal, Area IPM Advisor, Northern San Joaquin Valley:
Hulls are splitting on a wider basis now and spraying is underway. I think some people even started spraying last weekend (6/30-7/1) and the majority of growers are probably making applications now. Trap count numbers were up again this week. That would be for male moths and we’re finding eggs in egg traps, too.”
California Almonds: Deep Diving Into The Objective Estimates 7-6
California Almonds: USDA Estimates Record-Breaking 2018 Crop 7-5
California Pistachios: Timing This Year’s NOW Sprays 7-3
California Almonds: Managing Dust – Tips for Each Stage of Harvest 7-2
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