Nuts in Brian Blain’s California Tulare and Kern county pecan orchards were completing the month-long process of sizing at the end of August.

“We’re just in the early stages of shell hardening,” he says. “That’s about two weeks later than normal, and about the same time as nuts finished sizing in 2010, which was our latest crop ever. This is going to be another really late crop.”

Blain expects the San Joaquin Valley harvest to start the first or second week of November. That late start probably won’t affect growers there too much, he notes, but it could be a concern for those in the Sacramento Valley where rainy weather is more likely.

“A delayed crop puts a lot of pressure on them,” he says. “If they get an early winter, they could have problems getting all the nuts off before the ground in the orchards gets too wet to.”

Meanwhile, his pecan crop is developing well, even though production during this off-year appears to be down a little from 2010.

“In terms of crop size, some trees look really good,” Blain says. “For others, the crop looks a little off. The crop is kind of spotty.”

At the end of August he talked with a number of growers at the California Pecan Growers conference. “Most are saying the same thing, but at this point, nut size looks really good.”

Tree health is encouraging, too. “That’s half the battle,” Blain says. “If trees are healthy, with good vigor and no insect problems, as they have been this year, there’s really no reason why nuts won’t fill properly and we’ll have a good quality crop.”

Read more of what Schweers, Blain and Suchan have to say about their walnut, pistachio and pecan crop crops this year in the archives of Tree Nut Farm Press at http://enews.penton.com/enews/farmpress/treenutfarmpress/current where you can see the most recent issues of Tree Nut Farm Press and subscribe to the free e-newsletter that is emailed twice monthly through the growing season.