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Showing posts from May, 2014

2019 almond shaking and sweeping

It is crazy to think we have been in almond harvest for two weeks now. Even crazier to think I am just now getting time to sit down and blog about it. But here we are...

We started shaking almond trees on August 6th, so more than two weeks ago. This year we started shaking more than a week later than we did the past several years. The almonds just weren't ready as early as they usually are. We have had cooler weather this year. Even to this day, there have not been as many 100 plus degree days as we usually get. I am not complaining personally, I have enjoyed this summer much better. The cooler weather just delayed everything.

The almonds need so many hot days to help them ripen and dry out for harvest. With cooler temperatures it just takes a little longer. I would say though, we are more on target to when almond harvest used to be. We only started harvesting in the end of July when the trees were more stressed from lack of water and hot temperatures. When the trees have more wat…

Fertigation: Combining fertilizer with irrigation

This weekend we were fertigating. Fertilization and irrigation are combined to form a process called fertigation using the irrigation system. Nitrogen fertilizers are used in the spring and early summer to promote almond and vegetation growth. Since almonds are high in protein they use a lot of nitrogen to form proteins in the almonds. We also fertigate with potassium, almonds are high in potassium therefore the tree takes up a lot of potassium out of the ground to produce the crop. This potassium needs to be replaced in the soil for next years crop to be successful.

The process of fertilizing is made easier for farmers who use drip or micro irrigation. Fertilizer is delivered to our storage tanks by the semi truck load. Next, when the timing is right for the tree to efficiently use the fertilizer we pump the fertilizer into the irrigation system. Since we use drip irrigation on our farm, we simply pump the fertilizer into the irrigation system. Then the water drips from…

Drilling a new water well

Over the last two weeks we had a water well drilled on our farm! Because of the drought, we have an 80 acre field that district water allocations would be cut off as of may 15th. We have an old well that had the metal casing collapse 10 years ago and is no longer usable for us. We placed a request 6 months ago to have a well drilled and two weeks ago we got word that we were next up!

Drilling a well is quite the process. They drill foot by foot taking samples every 20 to 30 feet. These samples ensure that the water is good quality and available at that point. Also, the samples are used by the county and the drilling company to determine how deep we need to put cement around the well to ensure nothing is able to get down to the aquifer that is not supposed to be there. The drilling rig had to go 340 feet before they hit the top of the aquifer at our farm. The drilling continued to 935 feet in total to ensure we would have an active well if the aquifer drops further.

During…

Drought caused spraying

This week we are spraying for mite, peach twig borer, navel orange worm and leaf fungus. Mite is a small insect that eats leaves off the almond tree, these leaves provide shade and protection to the nuts. Peach twig borer and navel orange worm are worms that attack the almonds and destroy the crop. Leaf fungus can kill the leaves and negatively impact this years and future years almond production. Because of this years drought we had poor mummy removal which created more worm habitats and survival through the winter. Now we have to spray to control these worms. The drought also makes mite infestations worse, mites thrive on lack of water and weak trees. Rust has become a problem due to late season rains and lack of rain during winter months. Fungus grows rapidly in warm, humid conditions that we are currently experiencing. A miticide is used to kill the mite, a insecticide is used to kill the worms and a fungicide is used to prevent the leaf fungus. The combination of these is used to…