Even though the crop was running about two weeks behind usual at the beginning of August, Madera County, Calif., farmer Chris Cardella was encouraged by the way his almonds were developing.

“The trees look nice and healthy and have a good crop on them,” he says. “Based on the size and number of nuts I’m seeing, I think yields will be about 5 percent higher than last year.”

Now in his 11th season of growing almonds, Cardella’s 300 acres of trees near Firebaugh, Calif., include Nonpareil and the later-maturing Aldrich, Butte, Padre and Monterey varieties.

Starting when 10 percent of the Nonpareil hulls had opened, he completed his first hull split spray the last day of July. Up to that point, pressure from navel orangeworm had been light.

Cardella first saw some rust in his orchards this year in May, and since then, he’s treated the trees twice with fungicides to control the disease.

“It’s still in the trees,” he says. “This is one of those seasons when rust has been hard to stop. It’s not pretty— leaves are falling off because of it, but I don’t think it will affect yields.”

During the first part of August, he’ll be running a float through row middles to smooth them out prior to harvest. He expects to start shaking Nonpareil trees around Aug. 25.

Go to http://enews.penton.com/enews/farmpress/treenutfarmpress/current for the 2011 e-newsletter archives Tree Nut Farm Press and subscribe to the free e-newsletter that is emailed twice monthly through the growing season.