From the Fields
By Ron Macedo, Stanislaus County
For the almonds we've been working on orchard management--pruning almonds like crazy, brush shredding and applying a winter weed spray.
The Almond Board of California just held its annual conference where it was reported that California growers will continue to experience a favorable almond market. Shipments are up across the board both domestically and internationally and just doing really well.
Almond plantings have leveled off or might even be decreasing due to the lack of water. Growers that have water or access to water are going to look to plant new orchards and others are not so sure of the water situation. The market may have even strengthened a little bit due to the fact that growers can see that plantings are going to decrease. A lot of these older orchards that have been hanging on because the market has been so good, they are just going to have to start coming out. What bank is going to loan you money if you don't have a reliable water source? And you can't put a permanent crop in unless you are sure that you are going to have 25 years worth of water.
Otherwise, we are planting winter alfalfa and are concerned about the extremely low rainfall and low chilling hours. We are definitely behind the curve on chilling hours and need more hours for almonds and the stone fruit.
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