Volume 27 | Issue 22 | November 14, 2011
The Greensheet is CAC's bi-monthly industry newsletter, designed to provide California Avocado Industry members with timely and valuable news and information, regarding meetings, industry issues, cultural management/best practices, production research, CAC's marketing program, commission operations and more.
In This Issue You'll Find:
2011-12 CAS/CAC/UCCE Grower Seminars
Cultural Tip: Reading Your Trees During Winter
2011 CAC General Election Results
Laurel Wilt News
Hass Avocado Board Selects New Executive Committee
California Avocado Commission November Meeting Schedule
All meetings to be held at the CAC office located at 12 Mauchly, Suite L, Irvine, CA 92618
- Board Orientation – November 17, 2011 – 8:30 a.m.
- Board of Directors Meeting – November 17, 2011 – 10:00 a.m.
- Marketing Advisory Committee Meeting - November 17, 2011 – 2:00 p.m.
- To view the respective agendas, and minutes from previous CAC meetings, please visit: http://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/agendas-and-minutes
Index Fresh Grower Seminars* - November 16, 17 & 18, 2011 – Topic: Pollination
Speaker: Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia
San Luis Obispo - November 16, from 1:30 to 3:30 at the
Quality Suites Hotel, Los Padres Meeting
Room, 1631 Monterey Street
Oxnard - November 17 from 9:30 to 11:30 at the
Homewood Suites by Hilton, Ventura Meeting
Room, 1950 Solar Drive
Fallbrook - November 18 from 9:30 to 11:30 at the Pala
Mesa Resort, Live Oak Meeting Room, 2001
Old Highway 395
*These seminars have been organized by Index Fresh, Inc. Please RSVP by calling Susan Soto – 909-877-1577
At its recent annual meeting, the California Avocado Society (CAS) handed out the schedule for the 2011-12 California Avocado Growers Seminar Series. The seminars, which are a collaborative effort between the CAS, CAC and the UCCE Farm Advisors, are intended to provide growers and industry stakeholders with cultural management and research information which can be used as tools for increasing production. While the details of the 2011-12 schedule are still being finalized, mark your calendars for the following dates:
- February 7, 8 & 9 (Indoors)– Winter Irrigation and Water Use in San Luis Obispo & Other Avocado Varieties and Their Feasibilities in Ventura & Temecula
- April 10, 11 & 12 (Outdoors) – Avocado Pest Identification and Control
- June 5, 6 & 7 (Outdoors) – Irrigation Tools and Phytophthora Control
- August 8 (Outdoors) – Avocado Rootstocks
For additional information regarding these meetings, here is the current schedule provided by CAS.
Now that Halloween has passed, the weather has taken a distinct turn to the cool side and there has even been some rain. At a time like this, the avocado grower should be looking at their trees in order to evaluate what is likely to happen in spring. It used to be thought, that for avocado trees, winter was a period of not quite dormancy, the trees are evergreen subtropicals after all, but quiescence as the trees waited out the cooler weather until spring where they could start to grow again. There is more and more evidence that for avocado trees winter is not a quiet time at all. A great deal happens within the tree over the next few months, which will become apparent in how well the trees flower and set fruit in spring. Over winter the trees can develop flower buds, continue to size fruit, the fruit accumulate dry matter, roots can grow and some types of sugars can accumulate. The result is that the weather at this time of year and over the next few months can strongly influence the way the trees develop flowers and are set up for fruit set in spring.
Quite a bit of the development of flowers within the flower buds occurs over winter. If the winter has warm spells some flowering and fruit set can even occur. This says that despite the cooler weather, the trees are primed to be ready for flowering and fruit set should conditions be right. There is also a time course of development for the flower buds on shoots that is influenced by when the shoots grew in spring, summer or fall and internal tree factors. The latest research from California and grower experience tells that where there is a heavy crop on the trees, the flowering in the spring is often less than what is needed for a good fruit set. It is not so much that the tree does not have the flowers, but rather the research suggests that while the flowers are formed and start developing over winter, the flower buds never break in spring.
Once the trees are into winter there is not much that the grower can do to influence how many flowers there will be in spring. The hard work needs to have gone into the trees before winter sets in. The most easily recognizable issue for the grower is to ensure that the tree grew enough of a new flush in summer so that there is the potential for good flower numbers in spring. A very useful skill for a grower is being able to look at a tree and have a good feel for how much new growth there is that will be the flowering wood in spring. Cultural management practices a grower can undertake to help with the number of flowers depends on the root health of the tree, the type of shoot growth, crop load on the tree and the tree nutrient status. Trees with healthy root systems and strong shoot growth are candidates for girdling in fall to force some flowering on branches that may not flower at all. Trees with very heavy crop loads should be targeted for early harvest once fruit maturity is reached. Above all the tree must grow some new shoots in the summer if it is to have a decent chance of flowering with a good chance to set fruit.
By the end of November it should be possible to see flower buds on the avocado trees and to follow the change in shape and size of the buds through to flower bud break. The buds to look for can be found where the leaf stalk is attached to the shoot and start at the tip of the shoot and go back down towards the main branches. Vegetative buds are small and triangular in shape while flower buds are round and plump. Most of the flower buds are clustered at the tips of shoots and in the joints of the first five to six leaves on a shoot. Very often the most flower buds are found on the warmest and sunniest parts of the tree. If the trees are tall it will not be easy to see where most of the flower buds are, as flower development is likely to be concentrated at the tops of the trees. Small trees, well exposed to light all around, are more likely to develop flower buds all over the tree and it is easier to see how many flower buds there are.
Having a good idea how many flower buds are developing and the progress of flower bud growth are useful pieces of information for growers in their decision making. By determining if flowering will be stronger than expected a grower can look to alter harvesting decisions of when to remove fruit from the trees. If the crop is heavy the fruit will compete with the flowering and new fruit set. There may be a need to introduce bees earlier and in greater numbers than first anticipated. When flowering and fruit set is excessive the trees can fail to grow enough new fruiting wood resulting in a poor return crop. It is possible there could even be a need, should the flowering look to be excessive, to prune trees to better balance flowering to shoot growth for the following year.
For a grower, following flower bud development through winter can be part of a proactive cultural management process. It allows the grower to anticipate problems and opportunities that can be corrected. Careful observation of the growth and development occurring on avocado trees, even during times of the year when the trees appear to be doing little, can be used to indicate what cultural management activities are needed for the best yields.
On November 1, 2011, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released the official results of the recently concluded California Avocado Commission (CAC) 2011 General Election. As a reminder, more seats than usual were filled during this election due to the reapportionment of districts. After contacting the winning nominees and write-in candidates, the following individuals were appointed, and have accepted, seats as CAC Commissioners and Alternates, effective November 17, 2011:
DISTRICT 1 PRODUCER
Member: Ben Holtz (2-year term)
Alternate: Carol Steed (2-year term)
DISTRICT 2 PRODUCER
Member: Charley Wolk (2-year term)
Alternates: Joanne Robles (2-year term), Ohannes Karaoghlanian (1-year term)
DISTRICT 3 PRODUCER
Members: Ed McFadden (2-year term), Doug O’Hara (1-year term)
Alternates: Keith Reeder (2-year term), Steve Shehyn (1-year term)
DISTRICT 4 PRODUCER
Members: John Lamb (2-year term), Art Bliss (1-year term)
Alternates: Robert Grether (2-year term), Larry Rose (1-year term)
DISTRICT 5 PRODUCER
Member: Gabe Felipe (2-year term)
Alternate: Geoffrey McFarland (2-year term)
Members: Reuben Hofshi (2-year term), Steve Taft (2-year term)
Alternates: Bob Witt (2-year term)
The complete roster of 2011-12 CAC Board Members and Alternates can be found here. Due to the fact that a vacancy exists for an alternate handler seat, CAC will conduct a Vacancy Election within the next month, with the seat slated to be filled at the next CAC Board meeting in January 2012. If you are a handler and are interested in serving on the CAC Board, please look for the packet to arrive in the mail within the next few weeks. If you have questions regarding the election results, or serving on the CAC Board, please contact April Aymami at firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 341-1955 ext. 118.
A plant disease note came out on November 1, 2011 reporting that Laurel Wilt has also been found on sassafras in Mississippi. It was emphasized that both redbay and sassafras appear to be highly susceptible to the disease as it moves westward. Sassafras is less attractive than redbay to the ambrosia beetle (X. glabratus), and it was thought that this might contribute to slowing the spread of Laurel Wilt once outside the range of redbay. Nonetheless, the disease note confirms that sassafras can be infected where Laurel Wilt on redbay is not in the immediate vicinity.
While this new information does not pose an immediate threat to the California avocado industry, it is a reminder that industry stakeholders should become educated on the signs of Laurel Wilt, as early detection is vital, should the disease ever make its way to the west coast. Presentations and fact sheets from the Laurel Wilt seminars held in October can be found here.
Following the October 31, 2011 USDA appointments, the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) met on Thursday, November 10, 2011 and with one of the first orders of business being selection of new Executive Committee members. HAB board members voted unanimously for the new executive slate consisting of the following members:
- Chairman, Jimmy Lotufo (Importer)
- Vice Chairman, Jamie Johnson (Producer)
- Treasurer, Tom Sowden (Producer)
- Secretary, Bob Schaar (Producer)
During the HAB meeting it was also announced that two alternate producer vacancies currently exist on the HAB Board. All interested persons should contact Yvonne Seebach at email@example.com or (949) 341-3250.
To view all market trend graphs, including “Avocado Volume Summary,” “Weekly Price Range” and “U.S. Avocado Supply,” please visit: http://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/market-information/.
In the Near Term – through November 24... The westerlies are more active now with troughs deepening into the Great Basin as well as into northern California. The bottom line is that the current early start to winter-type systems appears to have continued support through the end of November. In particular, after a brief break in the action, another period of cold troughing with above normal precipitation appears ready to occur from the 15th to the 21st in the Rockies and during the 21st through the Thanksgiving weekend in California and the Pacific Northwest. The timing of troughs appears to be the 10th to 13th and 21st to 24th in California. There may be periods of dry upper high pressure for the 14th to the 19th or 20th. There continues to be an above normal risk of frosts and freezes with a pattern more typical of early December than for the middle of November.
In the Near-Term - Southern California Avocado Region...through November 24… There is a chance for significant rains into southern California on the 12th and 13th. This will be followed by a period of offshore flow and perhaps some of the usual Santa Ana winds that follow cold fronts. We expect snow in the San Bernardino Mountains from the colder systems that will develop on the 4th and the 10th and 11th. Watch for freezes in the interim periods after the cold fronts when skies clear out and before the Santa Ana winds develop. Also, periods of freeze and wetbulb freeze (wetbulb temperatures 32 or below while ambient air temperature may be in the mid 30s to 40) can be expected to follow the Santa Ana events as winds reduce to calm in valley areas. Another period of significant rains may occur from the 21st to the 24th.
November 25 to December 7… The Arctic Oscillation (AO) is not exerting much influence at this time. La Niña is also not an important factor during this period. The main factor is the SSTA pattern in the eastern Pacific Ocean to the west of California which is providing the greatest amount of forcing at this time for troughs along the west coast and colder than normal conditions.
November 25 to December 7...Southern California Avocado Region... Troughing will alternate with ridging patterns, each lasting about 8 days or so. Troughs and cold fronts are forming now that will cause rain into southern California, and this trend should continue. We do not have a well developed southern storm track, nor are we expecting one this winter. However, the current abovementioned SSTA pattern in the eastern north Pacific Ocean is sufficient to keep southern California in a cold pattern with the alternation between showery and very dry, frost -freeze risk conditions. For the bottom line, it will be colder than normal. Rainfall will be close to normal, although there is a chance for significantly above normal rainfall in some portions of southern California.
Seasonal Outlook/El Niño Update... The best chance for above normal rainfall in northern and central California will be through the middle of January. Late January, February, and March may be colder than normal, with above normal freeze risk through all of California. During January and February the chance of precipitation may be a little above normal in southern California. The scenario for early spring is now looking drier and colder than normal based on the expected SSTA pattern in northern and central California.
Southern California Avocado Region Seasonal Update... The emerging La Niña pattern suggests a drier scenario overall for southern California but with possibly a few significant troughs and rains that develop within an otherwise dry pattern. The bottom line is colder than normal conditions. Make sure you are well prepared for frosts and freezes, and review procedures for wetbulb freeze events. The colder than normal scenario may continue into March and April.
...Alan Fox, Fox Weather LLC...