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Posts Tagged: winter chill

Farmers welcome cool San Joaquin Valley weather

Foggy weather keeps daytime temperatures down, which helps trees accumulate chill hours.
When the National Weather Service announced that December 2015 temperatures were as chilly as "normal," farmers cheered. Many fruit and nut trees require cool weather to reset their biological clocks and ensure a healthy crop, reported Robert Rodriguez in the Fresno Bee.

Chill requirements vary by crop and variety. Some cherries, apricots, peaches and pistachios requiring a significant accumulation of cold weather to rest and then start growing again when the temperatures warm. For example, without a cold winter, pistachio trees get confused at the beginning of spring. 

"It is like the female flowers were ready to party, but the male flowers weren't around," said UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor David Doll.

If male trees bloom late, the female trees won't be fertilized, and shells may come up empty.

Winter chill for 2015-16 is off to a good start, and farmers are hoping the trend will continue.

"January is the biggest chill month," Doll said.

Farmer Raj Iyer told Rodriguez that last year January temperatures in the 70s were part of a weather trend that cut his cherry crop in half.

"We have had a normal weather pattern since November, so hopefully we will be back on track to producing a nice cherry crop," Iyer said.

Posted on Monday, January 4, 2016 at 10:12 AM
Tags: David Doll (22), winter chill (2)

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