Welcome to our Ag Blog. Our field scouts will offer a unique ground-level perspective from the field to you as an independent field scout with the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project. Our mission is to promote sustainable farming systems throughout the Central Valley and provide you with the latest information about cotton, almond and alfalfa crops. From time to time, you'll also find guest posts from our project team and other contributors. This Blog is edited by Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Hull Split Timing Crucial for Harvesting Almonds Successfully
After months of watching their orchards go from bud to bloom
to nut, the big moment has arrived for almond growers.
It’s hull split time. That means growers will start shaking
the nuts off the trees soon.
Field scout Jenna Mayfield reports about 15 percent of hulls
are split open in trees. Harvest starts when 95 to 100 of the hulls have split.
Unsplit almond stage. (UC IPM photos)
As we all know, of course, fruit – whether it’s a peach or
an almond – doesn’t ripen uniformly. Oh, that would be too easy.
For almonds, hull split usually starts in the upper and
outer sections of a tree in the southwest area – where it gets the most sun
during the day. The nuts on the top of the tree are the least mature.
Initial separation of hull.
As a result, it’s important for growers to continue monitoring the progress
of hull split to protect against pests. Jenna notes growers have been applying
hull split sprays to combat bugs such as navel orangeworm (NOW). University of
California Integrated Pest Management says NOW applications should be done
during the start of hull split and the beginning of egg laying.
Hull at the deep "V" stage.
Peach twig borer and hull rot fungi are other concerns at hull split.
Remember, the hulls provide a protective shell and after they split open the nuts
are exposed to these bugs. It’s important to harvest the crop as soon as
possible to limit pest exposure.
Split of ess than 3/8-inch.
Initial drying stage.
The first thing growers need to do is find out if hull split has started.
Sometimes, it’s tricky to see through the foliage and branches. A handy trick
is using a pole pruner to cut small branches from the top southwest section of
five or six trees to see if hulls are starting to split.
Here are some other tips from UC IPM:
Continue monitoring trees until 95
to 100 percent of the fruit at eye level are visibly
To determine when to start harvest, growers can
hit a tree limb to see how easily the nuts come off. Then test shake a few more
trees. When 99 percent of the nuts are shaken from the test trees then the time
is right to start shaking the entire orchard.
Complete drying stage of almond.
Harvest blocks with poorest
Historically, shaking starts in early to mid-August. But Jenna has seen in
the past growers starting tree shaking as soon as July 25 in the Northern San