August Crop Comments-California
Peaches, nectarines, plums, and pears continued to be harvested, packed and shipped. Bosc, Rivermaid Red, and Asian pears were packed and shipped to domestic and foreign marketplaces by mid-month. The pomegranate harvest began. By mid-month, side dressing and pruning of harvested stone fruit orchards had begun and was ongoing. The avocado harvest wrapped up in Santa Barbara County. The table and wine grape harvest continued, with shipments going to foreign and domestic markets by mid-month. The raisin grape harvest began and shortly thereafter, raisin grapes were laid to dry in the lanes. In Madera County, low sugar grapes were harvested. Persimmons gained size in response to the warm weather. Pineapple quince were packed and exported. The strawberry harvest continued and was at peak production in Santa Cruz County early August. Some strawberry fields were reported as abandoned or mowed down due to lack of labor. By months’ end, the strawberry and blackberry harvests were in full swing with high volumes. In Stanislaus and Tulare Counties, the almond harvest was underway and steadily increased throughout the State. Stored almonds, pistachios, and walnuts continued to be exported. Some young almond orchards were sprayed for mites. Orchard floor cleaning wrapped up in preparation for almond harvest in Kern and Yolo Counties. Almond hull split continued in Sutter County. Walnut shells began to harden. The large walnut crop was monitored and prepped for harvest by application of treatments for codling moth and mites to some orchards. Husk fly sprays were applied to some walnut groves. Pistachios were progressing well and some orchards were treated for navel orangeworm.
Valencia oranges continued to be harvested throughout the month, while some areas of Fresno County completed harvest early in the month. Regreening continued to be a problem with high temperatures. Foreign exports slowed, but harvesting, packing, and shipping to domestic markets continued. Lemons and Australian finger limes were harvested and packed.
In the citrus growing region, reported daily high temperatures were about average for this time of the year. However, a few areas had temperatures that were slightly warmer than normal. Daytime highs were in the lower to Crop Production (September 2016) 37 USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service mid-90s. Rainfall was very sporadic across the citrus growing region. Five of eighteen monitored stations had well above average rainfall, at over nine inches each. The most was in Vero Beach (Indian River County) at 11.44 inches. Eight stations had less than six inches for the entire month. The least rainfall was in Clewiston (Hendry County) at 1.35 inches. According to the August 30, 2016 U.S. Drought Monitor, the northern half of the Indian River District remained in abnormally dry conditions. Small portions of Lake, Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties were also abnormally dry. The remainder of the citrus region is drought free.
Growers were spraying to combat the citrus greening disease. Re-entry time into groves is typically between 48 hours and ten days. Those growers who have the resources were concentrating on pushing abandoned groves within or adjacent to their properties to help control the psyllid population. Resetting was common where new trees are available. Irrigation was still running in some of the dryer areas of citrus concentration.
Navel Orange Production Forecast
The initial 2016-17 Navel orange forecast is 84.0 million cartons. Of the total Navel orange forecast, 81.0 million cartons are estimated to be in the Central Valley. This forecast is based on the results of the 2016-17 Navel Orange Objective Measurement (O.M.) Survey, which was conducted from July 9 to September 1, 2016. Estimated fruit set per tree, fruit diameter, trees per acre, bearing acreage, and oranges per box were used in the statistical models estimating production.
The varieties forecast in this report include conventional, organic, and specialty Navel oranges (including Cara Cara and Blood orange varieties).
Survey data indicated a fruit set per tree of 384, above the five-year average of 334. The average September 1 diameter was 2.213 inches, below the five-year average of 2.251 inches.
Record Walnut Production Forecast
The 2016 California walnut production is forecast at 670,000 tons, up 11 percent from 2015’s production of 603,000 tons. This forecast is based on the 2016 Walnut Objective Measurement (O.M.) Survey, which was officially conducted August 1 through August 23, 2016. There were a few samples completed before August 1 for training and scheduling purposes.
The 2016 walnut season began well with adequate chilling hours and a fair amount of winter rains. Weather during bloom was considered average, with some ideal days and some days of stronger winds and wet weather. Spring rain increased the threat of blight. Hot weather in August resulted in an earlier than usual start to harvest, which is expected to begin in early September.
The 2016 Walnut O.M. Survey utilized a total of 729 blocks with two sample trees per block. Survey data indicated an average nut set of 1,406 per tree, up 11 percent from 2015’s average of 1,272. Percent of sound kernels in-shell was 98.7 percent Statewide. In-shell weight per nut was 21.6 grams, while the average in‑shell suture measurement was 32.2 millimeters. The in-shell cross-width measurement was 32.7 and the average length in-shell was 38.2 millimeters. All of the sizing measurements were below average levels since 1985.
Estimated nut sets, sizing measurements, average number of trees per acre, and estimated bearing acreage were used in the statistical models.