Franz Niederholzer, UCCE Farm Advisor, Colusa and Sutter/Yuba Counties; Luke Milliron, UCCE Orchard Systems Advisor, Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties
- Small prune prices are off.
- Inventories of small prunes are up due to world market conditions, meaning chances for an increase in small fruit prices for 2019 are not good. (It’s always good to double check with your packer to see what they think prices will be for different size classes this year.)
- With a mostly lighter crop in 2018, California prune growers generally had good bloom in 2019 and bloom weather was also good. This should see an increase in cropload for many blocks for 2019 (photo 1), meaning that chances are higher for growing smaller fruit.
- Mother Nature is not helping, as a warm month after full bloom means there is a strong chance that 2019 is NOT a good fruit sizing year.
- Low prices for small fruit, better set potential (more flowers and good bloom weather), warm April making for poor sizing year….could this be a perfect storm brewing for some prune growers? Nothings for sure, but it’s a good idea to check cropload in your orchards. Looks like reference date will be later this week in Yuba City for trees that didn’t get oil (i.e. bloomed at the end of March).
- We strongly suggest checking your cropload in each orchard and shaker thin where needed.
Growers and PCAs are invited to attend a field day to demo cropload checking in Live Oak on Wednesday, May 8. See here for more details.