Forecasted warmer weather should spur fruit development. Trees are beginning to abort smaller fruit and the warmer weather should speed up this process. Some growers are beginning to talk about a lighter than normal set, but will know better once thinning is complete. Pits are relatively soft, and thinning will begin for most growers in the next week or two. There seems to be no apparent damage from recent inclement weather in PCP orchards. Crop potential looks good.
Storms brought hail to the north end of the River and Linden Districts. One grower was impacted by the hail. Most of the hail was slushy, but some of it was firmer. Damage can be seen in the picture to the right. The first pear drop on the River resulted with a lot of fruit being aborted. Growers are happy with the results. More fruit may fall off when the pears start to turn down. Growers are confident in their crop thus far.
Thinning finished up last week. There was no apparent damage sustained from recent inclement weather. In some parts of orchards, fruit does not appear to be maturing at a uniform rate. Pits have begun to harden and forecasted warmer weather should spur growth. Crop potential continues to look good.
Irrigation continues in both Bakersfield and Madera. Bunch counts should be completed this week in Madera. No damage has been reported from recent inclement weather in either area. Crop potential continues to look good in both areas.
Organic Tomatoes – Plants are looking healthy and maturing very well. Heat units are still tracking slightly below normal. This means that the first harvest dates could be pushed back to July 10th instead of the 6th or 8th. We will just have to wait and see.
Pear Tomatoes – Plantings are complete. So far all is well and looking good.
Conventional Tomatoes – Planting will resume this week. This week’s forecast appears to be positive with only a chance of rain mentioned for Wednesday and temperatures on the rise. Plants that have been planted look very good.
New production started in early April but they are off to a slow start. The initial harvest of oysters is weak with raw materials being on the smaller size. Packers forecast that raw material size and volume will improve by early May. Overall, growers and production facilities are forecasting similar volumes to 2016. Oyster harvest is March through July for both Korea and China; boiled production is March through May and smoked is June through July.
Our mandarins come from the Zhejiang and Hubei Regions. Zhejiang is one of the most densely populated and affluent provinces in China. Zhejiang is among the leading Chinese provinces in farm productivity and leads in the production of tea and in fishing. The Province area is 101 thousand square kilometers and has a population of 54.43 million people. Hubei, a province with numerous rivers and lakes, has been called the “land of thousand lakes”. Hubei has been said to be one of the originating places of the Chinese people. The Province has an area of 180 thousand square kilometers and a population of 57.24 million people.
The average mandarin fruit cost in Zhejiang is higher than the initial projections and the average fruit costs in Hubei are relatively in line. The fruits output dropped 40-50% in Zhejiang, and the fruits output increased by 40-50% in Hubei, which are in line with estimations (the Zhejiang province exports 67% and Hubei exports 4%). The fruits in Zhejiang were soft and loose before December, so almost all Zhejiang factories bought fruits from Hubei until late December. Beginning in 2017, Zhejiang factories began to use local fruits. Canned Mandarins are by far the most canned exported fruit from China (peaches, pears, lychee, pineapple and cherries are also exported from China). Mandarin Orange harvest is middle of October through January.
Production: Pineapple in Thailand grows year-round. However, the volume at this time does not support a year-round production. The Thailand summer production is March through June; Thailand winter production is the middle of September through February. Indonesia production is year-round with a one month break in July.
Thailand Crop Update: Less than a year after the end of El Niño, weather forecasters around the world are predicting that it may come back and cause a drier-than-normal condition in Southeast Asia to develop around July to August and last through the end of this year. The 2016 winter crop has almost ended and the quality of raw material did not improve. The fruit was immature, un-ripe and small in size with high nitrate levels and low recovery percentage (solids and juice). If El Niño were to return for 2017, it will dry up the Thailand crop output, especially the winter crop output.
California Weather Update
In California, Pacific storms continue to bring precipitation in the form of high elevation snow and valley rains to the region. These moisture laden storms are crucial for summer water resources as the runoff feeds into the streams and reservoirs. Forecasted stream flows for California river basins generally show much above normal volumes through the summer months.
As a result of the continued rain, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order Friday, April 7, lifting California’s drought emergency in all but four counties. The emergency had been in place since 2014; now, only Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne counties remain under the emergency’s much-diminished umbrella.
Brown’s executive order continues prohibitions on wasteful water use such as hosing off sidewalks, watering lawns within 48 hours of a rainstorm and irrigating the turf on street medians. It also continues to require urban agencies to report their water use to the state.
The state’s announcement also offered a sobering reminder of the effects of a drought that caused “the driest four-year statewide precipitation on record,” from 2012 to 2015.
Even though California’s drought situation has improved, Brown stressed the importance of conservation. “This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” Brown said in a statement. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”