May rain threatening North State almonds

Credit: KHSL
Published on May 21, 2019 -

May rain threatening North State almonds

Farmers are battling fungus and surveying possible hail damage and last week's storm.


May rain threatening North State almonds

Wind and cold rain are battering some of the north state's biggest cash crops.

Among the most vital to the economy?*almond*.

Action news now reporter hayley watts is live at an almond orchard.

Hayley - what does all this wind and cold and rain mean for almond farmers and our local economy?

Our almond farmers are taking a hit because of the recent storms. take a look -- these young almonds still need three more months before they're ready for harvest -- and the recent storms mean some of them may not make it.

I caught up with almond farmer andrew sohnrey as a plane dropped fungicide on his 1000 acres of almonds.

This -- is not the norm.

"it's extremely expensive; we don't want to spray unless it's something we have to do.

That just means a lot more time, checking the orchards, checking individual trees," said andrew sohnrey.

Farmers across the north state are battling fungus after this weekend's rain.

"do you have any idea of the added expense of spraying, the time it takes, are we talking thousands?

Hundreds of thousands?"

I asked.

"a lot.

Hundreds of thousands," said sohnrey.

"you don't take care of it, it could ruin your entire crop," said sohnrey.

The fate of this year's crop and all who depend on it rests on what comes next.

"hopefully after the rain comes cool dry weather and that will help us not have to spray so much, because the humidity and the moisture is really what kicks up the disease," said sohnrey.

With the soil saturated and the trees heavy with almonds, a windy day could be devastating.

"if you get a wind that comes in 30, 40mph, you're going to lose trees, no question."

This year's almond crop is still three months our from harvest.

The butte county farm bureau says it received reports that last week's hailstorm took a toll on those almonds.

In 2017 almond farmers made more than 138 million dollars.

The farm bureau says that meant some $5.5 million in jobs and sales to the area.

With hundreds of people depending on his almond crop to make a living - sohney says he definitely feels the pressure.

"we work our butts off to make everything as good as possible but in the end you can't predicate mother nature, you can't control mother natures, so whatever mother nature does you just have to roll with it" ## the wet may weather created challenges for rice farmers as well -- you can find that story on our website, action news now dot com.##

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