These are some of our observations regarding the 2017 crop.
Bloom came earlier in the south part of the state, followed by the center-east, followed by the center-west and the North.
Nonpareil in the center part of the state is in petal fall (is mostly over). Later blooming orchards like Butte/Padre are part way through or at full bloom.
Last year's good winter helped create an improved bud set, so we saw a strong bloom (more flowers on the trees).
The first half of the bloom was very suspect due to rain, wind, and cold temperatures. There was bee activity during the first half, but we do not know if it was enough to set a strong crop on early varieties due to the poor weather. During the second half, we have seen less rain, but still cold temperatures, which limits bees’ willingness to be very active. On the positive side, the cold weather has prolonged the second half of the bloom.
The south experienced weather events with serious winds and some rain, but it seems they had the best conditions of all regions. The center-west may have experienced the next best conditions. The center-east seemed to fair the worst, having so much bloom open during the weather events 10 days ago.
Saturated soils and in some cases standing water has meant many growers could not apply timely fungicides. Many were able to make aerial applications that are less effective. Diseases have not been spotted yet, but it is still early.
Frost was a concern recently with temperatures reaching 32 Fahrenheit, but did not get cold enough to affect the crop.
Temperatures are expected to really warm up and there are some concerns about where the snowmelt will go, as the reservoirs and rivers are so full.
Many recall that we produced our best crop with the wet bloom of 2011, though we have not experienced weather this wet in a very long time.
Until nutlets form through March, we will not have any remotely accurate idea of the 2017 crop size. This uncertainty has put many sellers and buyers on the sidelines. Everyone is hoping for a nice crop to support continued demand growth, despite the unusual weather.
Below are some recent photos.