When it is time to harvest a huge crop like we have this year, things can get very exciting. You’ve worked hard all year long to get to this point and you are almost to a place where you can take a deep breath, relax and reap the benefits of your labor.
In the excitement of harvest, I’d caution you not to lose the chance to use this year’s crop to prepare for the next. There are some great opportunities for you during harvest to learn more about your orchards, your trees and your future.
There are a couple of best practices that are very important and shouldn’t be overlooked, including:
When you’ve completed shaking and before you sweep your orchard floors, take a moment to take a good sample. The University of California Integrated Pest Management Program recommends a sample of at least 500 nuts per block that will help you catalog what pressures your crops faced this year. That information will be the solid foundation that your 2021 IPM plan needs to be successful.
As you are scouting and sampling during this time, be sure to survey your orchard soil to determine what nematode pressure you are seeing. We’ll talk next time about how to best attack on that front, but starting now estimating their numbers and location will help you make that attack work.
UC-IPM recommends that, when surveying for nematodes, you follow these guidelines:
- Divide orchards into sampling blocks. For parcels of fewer than 20 acres, take a minimum of 4 samples.
- Take soil and root subsamples from an area of the root system where there is soil moisture. That’s where the highest numbers of nematodes should be concentrated.
- Take the subsamples randomly and place them in separate plastic bags that are sealed and labeled. Keep the samples cool and submit them to a diagnostic laboratory as soon as possible. Your PCA should be able to provide the guidance you need on that front.
As you are sweeping, it’s a great time for you or your PCA to do a final inspection of your orchard, keeping a record of what weeds your program missed or was ineffective against. Be sure to look at the base of your trees, under any wraps, on the floor and into the trees. Being comprehensive and diligent will pay off dividends in this exercise. Combined with your almond sample, this information will be invaluable in your future planning.
Finishing out one growing season strong can have implications on growing seasons for years to come. Let’s make sure we do that this year together.
If the California Certis team can be of any help to you in this final stretch, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
At Certis, we are here for you, now and always.