The 2021 harvest season is underway, and reports indicate that things are going smoothly. With warmer temperatures and dry conditions, some of the earlier almond varieties went a little earlier than normal this season. Compared to last year, navel orangeworm pressures appear to be more prevalent in some areas. Ant damage has also increased a bit this season, with some growers scaling back ant management programs to help cut costs. However, so far, the 2021 harvest appears positive overall.
“Things are definitely looking good out there,” said Michael Roots, Field Outreach and Education Specialist for the Almond Board of California. “Size definitely has been coming through across the board; smaller nuts in areas where there’s been a lot of water stress, even some shriveling going on. So, I think everybody is kind of noticing the crop is definitely a little smaller than they had seen last year.”
As the 2021 harvest season moves forward growers will want to pay close attention to the timing of tree shaking. With temperatures coming down in recent weeks, it can play a role in the drying process. Some growers have been shaking the trees a bit prematurely, leaving more moisture in the nuts than is advised. Roots noted that the pace has slowed down a bit from earlier in the harvest season, but the volume is starting to add up. As a result, some growers are being asked to stockpile their nuts, further emphasizing the need for optimal timing for the shaking process to allow nuts to adequately dry.
“I have talked to several huller/sheller operations and in conversations with them, they are definitely asking growers to stockpile,” Roots noted. “Some are incentivizing by giving a little bit of a per-pound boost for growers that will stockpile on-farm. Some of them are saying, before they are taking new customers, it’s going to be a requirement that they stockpile on the farm because there just isn’t room to stockpile everything at these huller/shellers.”
The Almond Board of California has a host of tips and recommendations available to help growers navigate the harvest season.
Listen to Roots’ full interview below.