Tony Touma, PCA, Bio Ag Consulting, Bakersfield
“It rained yesterday and a little this morning (3/8), plus the temperature dropped about 15 degrees over the last couple of days. It’s really cold today and the wind may pick up this afternoon, too.
“Most of my growers have applied one fungicide and some have made a second application. With the rest, we’re going to start on the second round. On average, it seems like most growers will do 2 bloom sprays. Going with 2 treatments is quite normal for a wet year. It’s been raining to some degree every 3 or 4 days.
“This has been a really prolonged bloom, certainly the exact opposite of a flash bloom. It took a month to go from early bloom to 100% bloom in some fields. An extended bloom like that may complicate harvest. We’ll see.
“We’ve had long blooms in the past but I don’t recall any quite like this. When we were around 20% bloom, temperatures dropped into the low 30s for lows and trees hardly did anything.
“Overall, I don’t think the cold weather hurt crop potential. The wet, cold conditions did slow bee activity. But then at about 100% bloom we had 3 or 4 days of better bee conditions. Bees will work fast when it’s sunny, and I’ve seen a lot of years with rainy conditions but we still ended up with a good crop.
“Right now, I do feel like we have a chance for a good crop. This is running opposite to last year when we were hurt by cold weather. We’ll know more in 6 weeks.
“In alfalfa, we’ve just started spraying for Egyptian alfalfa weevils.”
Nick Groenenberg, Independent PCA, Hanford
“More rain is expected on Saturday (3/9), just light amounts, and then another round of light rain is in the forecast by Tuesday. After that, it might clear up.
“We’ll see what the rain does on Tuesday in terms of applying the next fungicide. We have 3 fungicides on most of the almond acres or are lining up a third spray in places. Where we made a third treatment, we have another week or so of protection. If the weather clears up after Tuesday, we should be in good shape.
“This was a long, drawn out bloom with a lot of rain, and nobody kicked about having to spray 3 times.
“With most varieties now (3/8), bloom is 95% over. The Butte-Padres are still blooming, and some of the Wood Colony trees have blooms on them. But the Independence are finished.
“Some tomatoes are going in the ground. On the west side, they’re planting today. It rained a day or two around Hanford, and tomato planting has been on hold in those fields. I’m picking up a few Egyptian weevils in alfalfa but nothing I would treat yet.”
Mark W.F. Carter, PCA, Agri-Consultants, Los Banos
“It’s rained 2 to 3 days a week for the last couple of weeks (from 3/8) and we’ve had to apply a lot of fungicides by air. We finished the second spray at the end of last week.