Wednesday, September 26, 2012

9/25/2012 Started shaking Monterey variety, our last one.  We are getting a good clean shake here, but some other blocks will not be ready to shake until next week.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wow! These Wood Colony wind rows are awesome!  Much bigger than I expected.  I'm anxious to see how big the crop is, hoping for good news.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Green" nuts that were not removed by the shaker
We tried to shake these Wood Colony trees today but they are a little too green so these nuts were left after shaking.  We'll return in a few days and try again.  The Wood Colony in some other blocks came off nicely.  Each orchard matures at its' own pace.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

RUST(note rust colored spore patches on leaf undersides)
It seems Rust (fungal disease) is becoming more of a concern every year.  In 2010 and 2011 I thought the high infection levels might be attributable to the cool growing seasons we experienced those years.  This year the temperatures warmed back up to a near average valley summer.  Additionally, we treated all of the bearing orchards with a rust fungicide early in the season. Despite these factors the disease has been present at low levels all year, and is really taking off now in the late season.
Micro-irrigation systems allow us to continue to irrigate later-harvesting varieties while we harvest the early maturing ones.  Here are some Monterey trees being kept wet to minimize stress while we shake the Wood Colony in the same orchard.
     Not too many years ago it was commonly thought that stress put the trees into a reproductive mode and would therefore create bigger crops.  Experience has proven that trees that experience the least stress are the best producers.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Shaking Wood Colony

We started shaking the Wood Colony variety today.  Nut removal has been good.

The Monterey will be close behind.  They are splitting but there are still a few that are still tight on the trees.  They will likely be ready in about a week.

The weather forecast is very favorable; warm and dry for at least two weeks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

 Picture taken Friday Sept 7.  These fresh tracks are indicative of the dust settling impact of the recent rain showers.  The forecast is for warm and dry weather for at least the next 10 days.  Good.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

LIGHTNING! THUNDER! SHOWERS!  This morning nature provided a reminder that we need to keep harvest moving along.  The showers were not enough to get things too wet; they just settled the dust, but three days ago they were not even in the forecast.  This time of year the weather can change quickly.

We will finish harvest of all of our Nonpareil tomorrow.  All of the orchards will get a good drink of water and then we will start shaking the other varieties next week as they mature.

No rain for a month, please!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Here is our 5-man crew, taking a well deserved lunch break while working Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  The harvest season knows no holidays!  I brought them pizza as a thanks for the extra effort they are putting in.  These five men will pick up roughly 800,000 pounds of field run almonds from this ranch in 4 days!
"Field run" refers to what we pick up and send to the huller.  It includes the almond meats, the shells, the hulls, and any foreign material such as sticks, rocks, etc.
The "crackout" is the percentage of meats that are in the field-run product.  Typically the percentage for Nonpareil is around 22-25%.  We had one ranch that averaged 28% this year.  Industry wide, I am hearing that crackouts are running low this year, some as low as 18%.