Thursday, November 21, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Drought Stress?
I mentioned in my most recent post that we are continuing to irrigate due to the lack of rain. But not all appearances of drought stress are necessarily due to lack of water. Although the trees in this orchard appear thirsty, they are really dropping leaves due to a late infestation of Rust disease (a fungus).

Rust disease has been a challenge during the last few years. This year, one application of fungicide kept the disease down before and through harvest. This late season infestation is a reminder that we will need to be on the lookout for it again in 2014.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Drip Irrigation with well water
It is almost mid November and we are still irrigating! We've had no rain and the trees continue to use water during the mild days (70's) we are having.

The drip tubing was secured at the top of the berms to be safely out of the way during harvest.  We leave the tubing there until spring. This keeps them secure while we sweep the mummies to where they can be destroyed by a mower.

Where we do not have access to well water, some of the trees are experiencing stress and beginning to drop leaves. This is the kind of leaf drop we might want from cold temperatures this time of year, not from lack of water. We definitely need rain!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Getting ready for a pre-plant fumigation with Telone. A lot of specialized equipment is involved. Fumigation reduces soil nematode populations and is important for reduction of Replant Disorder, an ill-defined soil condition that stunts new trees.

This is the GPS-guided tractor that will inject the fumigant into the soil. This rig is set up to "know" where each tree will be planted and apply fumigant in about a 10 ft. square at each tree site. This is a trial run and researchers will measure the concentration of fumigant surrounding each tree site to test the application accuracy.

Fumigants are tightly regulated and county biologists were on site to be sure all safety and regulatory requirements were being met. Pictured are Melanie Fisher (Stanislaus Co.), Kraig Williams (TriCal, Inc.), Anna Genasci (Stanislaus Co.), and Matt Gilis (researcher with TriCal, Inc.)
Almondfarmer with pilot Kevin Morgan Smith of Hawke Ag Aviation (aerial ag applications, Oakdale, 209-765-6762) next to the Cessna 150 that Kevin used to take me up for some aerial photographs. Kevin did a great job of flying, giving me lots of opportunities for pictures and made a smooth landing for a safe return

Aerial pictures allow us to clearly see weaker areas of an orchard. We can investigate what those areas will need to become more robust. In this picture a weak area is apparent where a hill top was removed. We can test what nutrients are deficient and supplement those areas.