Monday, August 5, 2013

Here’s the Scoop: Almond Harvest Has Arrived Early

 Because of the warm and hot weather this season, some growers in early July were predicting the almond harvest would arrive some two weeks early.

If you’re a betting person, you probably could have earned a tidy payoff. Yes, harvest time did arrive early. In fact, tree shaking began before the calendar turned to August in some parts of the San Joaquin Valley.
Growers are already harvesting their almonds.
Our almond field scout Jenna Horine got the scoop last Tuesday (July 30) when she snapped a photo of a harvesting equipment working in the orchards.

Ironically, Jenna’s eye-witness account came just a day after our favorite “Almond Doctor” – better known as Merced County UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor and pomologist David Doll – told the online trade publication AgFax: “Even though I wouldn’t have believed it a month ago, we are going to be seven to 10 days earlier on almond harvest. After having a late bloom, this has surprise many people, the jump is due to that warm spell that occurred during cell division back in March and April.” The Doctor expects all varieties to experience an early harvest.

These nuts are drying on the ground.
Well, Jenna found two growers shaking nuts off their trees. Now the almonds are soaking up the sun and drying on the ground.

Often, growers who have their own harvesting equipment are able to get a jump on others who have to wait for custom harvesters to come by. By doing it yourself, growers can control the timing of the harvest and quality of the crop. It also gives growers peace of mind because they don’t have to wait for custom harvesters to make their rounds.

Owning your own tree shaker can be a big investment.
For small and mid-size farms, owning harvesting equipment – a tree shaker, sweeper, pick-up tractor and trailers easily run into the six figures. Figuring out if equipment ownership is worth the investment takes careful economic analysis. UC researchers estimate it costs about $324 an acre to harvest a crop.
Retired UC IPM entomologist and almond expert Walt Bentley suggests to smaller farms that they get together and pool their resources to purchase equipment. They can share the machines at harvest time and not worry when the custom harvester’s schedule.

Jenna is excited about getting a jump on collecting nut samples for crack out later this year. On the pest front, bad bugs so far are under control.

Bolls are ready to open.
Meanwhile, field scout Carlos Silva says pests in alfalfa and cotton are under control. However, one cotton grower did have to treat for whiteflies.

Alfalfa growers have been irrigating their fields as they prepare for the fifth cutting of the season. Cotton growers also have been irrigating their fields. Plants are loaded with bolls. Most have 13 to 14 fruiting branches and up to 20 nodes. Carlos anticipates some bolls opening in the next week.

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering if you would be willing to sell a high res version of the almond shaker photo to me for use on a client one-sheet. Thank you!