Despite a series of storms in recent weeks temperatures so far have remained relatively mild for California citrus growers. The Weather Watch tool from California Citrus Mutual (CCM) provides daily updates on forecasted temperatures in the Central Valley and the Ventura region to help citrus growers be better prepared for any potential freeze events.
“So far, so good as far as having hard freezes or any concerns out there,” said CCM President Casey Creamer. “We’ve had a couple of nights where it seemed like there was some frost out there, but for the most part none of that has had any impact negatively on the citrus that’s out there.”
Creamer noted that about 20 percent of the crop has been harvested so far, and while the temperatures have remained in a steady range, growers could still use a few days of cooler temperatures as the season progresses. “We don’t want to see a hard freeze that damages the fruit, but some little bit colder days and some little bit colder nights would be a welcome sign to continue good fruit quality for the rest of the season,” Creamer explained.
The Weather Watch tool contains detailed climate information that is gathered through a dedicated group of citrus-specific weather stations. Growers can access the tool from November through February to help plan for using fans or run water in the event of a forecasted freeze. Creamer noted that it appears to be shaping up to be a good season so far.
“I think generally the size of the crop this year is better than what we had last year. We got less volume than what we had last year, so that’s actually a good thing for the market as well,” said Creamer. “Overall I would say that the quality of the crop and the sizes of what consumers desire is much better this year than what we had last season.”
Listen to Creamer’s interview below.