Smooth sailing for Kern County grapes

“It looks so good right now it’s almost scary,” says Frankie Etcheverry, PCA with Simplot in Edison, Calif. “The grapes have gone through shatter without any problems and now they’re beginning to size up. The weather has been almost ideal. We’ve been on a 10 to 14 day powdery mildew schedule in table grapes because conditions have favored development, but so far, no problems there either.”

As high pressure began to build over California last week, forecasters expect temperatures across the state to gradually begin to warm up to above seasonal normal averages with highs across the Central Valley and the Southern California interior reaching the 80s and lower 90s. It could be a recipe for increased mite pressure in coming weeks.

“Mite pressure is mostly isolated in Kern County vineyards,” says Jennifer Hashim-Buckey, Kern County UCCE Farm Advisor. “One site that we have been monitoring in the Arvin area is averaging two per leaf. Another site south of Arvin is reporting small isolated flare-ups in the vicinity of 25 to 40 per leaf. Growers should definitely be on the lookout as temperatures continue to increase.”

Etcheverry reports similar findings. “We just started picking up two-spotted mites in the Arvin area,” he says. “We’ll start some applications the first week of June. I would expect that we might see mites increasing over the next few weeks as the temperatures start warming up.”

Most other pest pressure has been very light or non-existent, he says. “We’ve seen a little bit of leafhopper, but that’s about it.”

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