In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent U.S.A., bloom preparation is underway as growers contend with continued rainstorms. Field Market Development Specialist with Valent U.S.A., Todd Burkdoll said the storms have been on the warm side. “One of the bigger issues is lack of chilling. We’ve kind of had a warm winter. So that warm winter is conducive to more pest pressure going into the season,” Burkdoll explained.
While rain is needed in California, growers must also consider the timing for pest management. Burkdoll advised against dormant applications of insecticides due to bees being active in the fields and blooms starting to appear. One of the things that Burkdoll noted was a significant amount of mummies are still in many orchards, which are potential harbors for navel orangeworm (NOW). “They’re going to have to either go in there and knock them off, which is labor, or just fight the battle as the season proceeds,” Burkdoll explained.
Efforts to mitigate the potential for overwintering NOW should have been done back in November and December. Particularly after a year of significant pest pressures. Burkdoll pointed out, “A lot of people got pounded by navel orangeworm last year.” Expectations are for another potentially problematic year for NOW based on the winter conditions and number of mummies left in orchards.
There will also be opportunities to mitigate pest damage later in the season, closer to hull split. Burkdoll said he has seen success with applications of DiPel beginning about three to four weeks before hull split. “We got pretty good results last year,” Burkdoll noted.
Other bloom preparation efforts include herbicide applications. Burkdoll said that if applications have not been made, now is the time to get preemergents in the orchard. “It’s a good time to do it, in between these rains. Water is needed for incorporation,” said Burkdoll.
Listen to the report below.