By John Wood, Regional Manager, CA South Central Valley
In the nut business, staying ahead is the name of the game. If you are in ag, then you know the business of anticipating and preparing for what is going to happen next and relying on crop inputs for protection against harmful disease and pests.
Right now, what's looming on our horizon is the big finish—harvest.
Since it is fully the dog days of summer here in the Central Valley, I think most of the nut growers I am talking to are starting to make plans and get their final spray applications in prior to harvest.
Part of this preparation is the treatment of Alternaria leaf spot, which should be happening in the next week or two if you are seeing evidence of it in your orchards. Be on the lookout for brown spots on leaves that may turn black. Alternaria will proliferate quickly in June and July when humidity is high and air is stagnant. Combine those factors with dew in the early morning and you have the perfect growing environment for Alternaria.
The standard treatment for Alternaria is a tank mix combination of a residual and a contact product. Double Nickel® is a contact product with proven reliability to kick Alternaria, and when combined with a conventional residual chemistry, gives you the disease protection essential to finish the season successfully.
Most everyone that I've seen lately has been making their last applications of nitrogen of the season. If you want to maximize the benefit of your nitro applications, I'd cut them off now and let them do their work. Excess nitrogen can have a negative impact on your yields by increasing vegetative growth and the susceptibility to disease infection of your nut crop and spurs.
In addition to your hull-split sprays taking place in the next few weeks, I'd recommend that you take a good, hard look at your orchard floors and start getting those swept up for harvest. When you start shaking, it's going to make harvest go much more efficiently if your floors are free of weeds and grasses. If they aren't quite tidy now, go ahead and hit them with an effective herbicide product now so there is time for die-down in the next couple of months.
Remember my article all about ants and the intense damage they can do to your nuts at harvest? That's still true and it's important now to get any ant colonies under control in your orchards so they won't be feasting on your profits during harvest. One application of Seduce™ Insect Bait now could help you control ant populations all the way through harvest, so act fast to ensure control.
I think everyone has heard the phrase, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," right? The next 2-3 weeks are the time to be spending those ounces in preventive and protection measures. If you do, I have a feeling you'll be saving some real pounds at harvest.