IN YOUR ORCHARD
TIME TO CONSIDER
Harvest is over. Now what? Entering the fall months is a time when things slow down in the orchards. Now some may still be harvesting, but soon, you too will be able to take a breath and reflect on the year. Years for farmers work differently than they do for most. A new year in farming begins when the final nut from harvest leaves the field. That means to have a successful 2023 harvest, you have set the foundation today. What can be done to start this new year off right ?
4. W hat about nutrient demand ? The times when growers used to apply 75-100 units of Nitrogen (N) post- harvest are gone. According to the CDFA Fertilization Guidelines, only 20% of your yearly nitrogen should be applied in the post-harvest timing. In some cases, the post-harvest application may be reduced, or even eliminated. If July tissue samples show nitrogen concentration of higher than 2.5% or 2.8%, the extra nitrogen may not be needed. If your crop came in heavier or your nitrogen levels were low in the July samples, a nitrogen application would be a good idea to provide energy for next year’s bloom. Potassium (K) is also vital for next season’s bloom. Checking the K levels in the soil and tissue can help decide the best materials to be used. In some soils K levels may be high, but that parent material may not be available to the tree. This would be a situation where a soil applied granular would come into play. Remember, K does not
1. Planning is vital to having a successful year. We have all heard the quote from Benjamin Franklin that states “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” and it applies to farming perfectly. Now is the time to sit down and plan out the year going forward. A good idea is to set up a meeting with your PCA/CCA. In this meeting you can debrief on the past year. You can go over tissue, soil, and hull samples to see where you may have some deficiencies. Discuss what worked and what didn’t, where you could improve, and what your goals are for the new year. In this meeting you can also work on a fertilizer and pesticide budget. 2. A budget will help plan out spray and fertilizer applications, what products you might use, and the cost of those applications. Having this road map will lead to less confusion, and a more focused approach to farming for 2023. 3. Water is the most important task post-harvest. After harvesting it is vital to return to watering at the full rate of Evapotranspiration (ET). ET is the amount of water being used by the crop in a given time period. Reduced water in the post-harvest timing may result in reduced bloom and crop the following year. The latter half of summer and fall is when the trees are going through bud differentiation, which means they are deciding how many buds will become fruiting or will stay vegetative. If the tree does not have enough energy stored or is not strong enough to support fruiting buds, the result will be more vegetative growth, which leads to lower crop the following year. As we all know, water availability is different for each grower — but if you have it, use it!
Figure 1 Photo by Ben Goudie
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