PCA Mark Carter reports very good overlapping pollinating/bloom in Nonpareils, Montereys, Carmels and Avalons in his contracted orchards in Fresno and Merced counties on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

These varieties were in full bloom on Thursday with Buttes/Padres at two to five percent at the same time.

Carter also is reporting good bee activity.

Most of his almond growers have a good water supply this season, but two are in federal water irrigation districts. One of those is drilling a well to make up for being shorted on the federal water.

“I have heard of growers shaking blooms to reduce or eliminate a crop, thereby reducing the water need for the trees,” said Carter.

This is a survival technique with pros and cons.

Some believe it will make trees go vegetative and actually need more water. Carter disagrees.

“They will go vegetative if they get water. However, if a grower is shaking trees to remove bloom, he does not have water to apply to make them go vegetative,” Carter says.”Farmers shaking blooms off are guys trying to get by on just one irrigation to keep trees alive.”

Others are not setting out bee hives for pollination in an effort to reduce the crop. This is somewhat of a gamble.

Without pollination and limited water, the assumption is that the trees will abort any crop it sets from the water stress.”

Madera County University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor Brent Holtz says this is something of a gamble.

“I have seen orchards where there were no bees set a pretty good crop due to bees foraging from other nearby orchards where there were bees,” he said.

That could require the grower to at least mechanically drop the nuts on the orchard flood to disk under to prevent overwinter problems with Navel Orangeworm (NOW)