Even the blast of Arctic air in late January ‘07 didn’t seem to significantly affect bud break or create extensive problems across the state. “Our bud dissection is showing a little more fruitfulness than last year, but still below normal,” says Rick Stark with Sun-Maid. “However, it may be better than what the numbers are telling us at this point considering the mostly warm weather we’ve had. We’re experiencing a very uniform bud push as compared to what we typically see where it is extended over a period of time. It wasn’t an early push, but it was uniform. That gives all the shoots about the same amount of time to grow. Of course, we’re still worried about frost up until the first of May, but so far, so good.”
In terms of influencing management decisions based on initial bud dissection information, Stark says that some growers have left extra canes to compensate for what appears could be another below average year for fruitfulness.