Throughout the California Central Valley, consistently warm summertime weather provided almond growers a golden opportunity to bring in a significant portion of the 2012 crop from the orchards. The year’s more advanced maturity level has allowed growers to harvest the crop in a timelier manner, especially in contrast to 2010 and 2011 when relatively cool summers delayed maturity and harvest.
Growers have been delivering product directly to their huller/sheller operators or stockpile yards for hulling after the harvest is completed. Huller and sheller operators are reporting that the crop is flowing easily through their facilities, due to the lower moisture content in the almond hulls and kernels.
With the completion of the Nonpareil harvest, growers are moving quickly through their pollinizer varieties. The advanced development of the pollinizer varieties has prompted many growers to forego irrigation after the Nonpareil harvest, instead opting to immediately shake the next variety. Many are predicting harvest activities will be completed by mid-October as long as dry weather prevails.
Those who have completed the harvest have already moved onto post-harvest tasks in their orchards. Machinery can be seen floating the orchard floor to smooth the soil surface and spreading soil amendments such as gypsum or lime. Post-harvest irrigations are also a prime consideration to ensure that the trees have adequate moisture going into the dormant season. Some growers have already begun removing older, low-producing orchards as well.