After a tough year, make key irrigation maintenance a priority.

Posted by Franz Niederholzer  /   August 30, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Written By: Franz Niederholzer, UCCE Farm Advisor, Colusa/Sutter/Yuba Counties

Despite strong nut pricing, the drought is making 2014 a very tough year for growers, their trees, and in many cases, their irrigation systems.  Low quality irrigation water, potentially stressing trees and irrigation systems, was/is applied to many orchards this year that normally received higher quality water.  Irrigation system maintenance, especially cleaning drip lines to ensure uniform and adequate water flow, should be high on the do-to list this fall.  The following is a quick review of key practices to keep drip emitters from clogging.  For more complete information, see the sources listed at the end of the post. Read More

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Water Stress and Varietal Differences

Posted by David Doll  /   August 22, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   2 Comments
Leaf drop observed in the almond variety 'Monterey.' Senescence and drop is most likely due to water stress. Photo courtesy of James Nichols.

Leaf drop observed in the almond variety ‘Monterey.’ Senescence and drop is most likely due to water stress. Photo courtesy of James Nichols.

A few visits and emails have highlighted differences in leaf drop patterns observed across varieties within an orchard. Full rows of trees will have yellow leaves that drop in time, characteristic of water stress while other varieties appear unaffected. These “in-field” observations suggest that almond varieties respond differently to the amount of water applied. For example, the variety ‘Monterey’ and ‘Aldrich’ have been observed to show signs of stress before ‘Nonpareil’ trees even though crop load is similar. In these cases, these trees may undergo severe leaf drop while ‘Nonpareil’ appears unaffected. Read More

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Odd weather at harvest, so far

Posted by Franz Niederholzer  /   August 10, 2014  /   Posted in Almond  /   No Comments

Written by Franz Niederholzer, UCCE Farm Advisor, Colusa/Sutter/Yuba Counties

Conditioned nuts in Colusa County

Conditioned ‘Nonpareil’ nuts at harvest,  Colusa County

So far, the weather in the Sacramento Valley has been unusually moist early in the 2014 harvest season.  Higher humidity and rain last week (Aug 4-5 = 0.1-0.6”) slowed nut drying just as the season began.  A chance of thundershowers is forecast for the coming week (Aug 11-15), so we won’t spring right back to the usual August weather – hot and dry.  Growers anxious to get nuts up and out of the orchard will have to wait longer than expected to deliver a dry, quality crop.  Wet nuts are more vulnerable to damage (chipped, broken and embedded shell), which can reduce return to grower. Read More

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Impact of Deficit Irrigation on Almond Kernels

Posted by David Doll  /   August 02, 2014  /   Posted in Almond  /   3 Comments

I have been receiving a kernel samples from a few growers who had experienced various issues with water quantity and quality this past year. The picture below shows two common problems experienced with almond kernels. These include both small nut size and kernel shrivel.

The impact of three different irrigation programs on 'Nonpareil' kernel.

The impact of three different irrigation programs on ‘Nonpareil’ kernel. Photo credit: David Doll.

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