This year’s almond bloom in the central San Joaquin Valley was the latest and longest that Marvin Yotsuya, a PCA with Kerman Ag Resources at Kerman, Calif., has seen in his nearly four decades-long career.
“It was strung out and lasted about three weeks,” he says.
“The early varieties — Avalon, Fritz and Sonora — have an excellent percentage of nut set, while the nut set on Nonpareil, Wood Colony, Monterey, Carmel and Butte is good to excellent.”
Strong bee activity gets credit for the good set, despite some very cold weather.
“With the sun shining, the bees were flying, regardless of the temperature,” Yotsuya says. “By the book, bees aren’t supposed to fly when the temperature is below 55 degrees, but I saw them flying in 45 degree weather. So did other growers and PCAs in this area. The quality of the beehives was the best we’ve seen in a long time. The beekeepers say there’s lots of pollen in the hives.”
With the long, unsettled weather conditions during bloom, he says, treated fields show very little sign of brown rot or jacket rot. The main disease concerns after petal fall are scab and shot hole.