Too much water now for California Almonds?

California is one of the leading growers of almond trees as you can tell by the early bloom here in Shafter. But with all of the record breaking rainfall, I have the details on how it’s effecting almond production and with issues of trespassing.

If you are driving along the road in Shafter, you’ll see rows of blooming almond trees. These white and pink flowers are blooming earlier this year because of the added rainfall. This is great for Jim Lederhos — an almond farmer here in Kern County. His farm is full of almond trees — but he wants more.

“Ten Thousand is all. But, I just took out a bunch and will be planting another 12,000 and replanting even more in July.”

Almond trees require a lot of water to blossom.  The record breaking rainfall this winter is what allowed that to happen. But now that they’ve blossomed — Lederhos is nervous about this weekend’s rainy forecast.

“The problem is the rain that is going to follow like this weekend. You can kind of hear the tractor in the background. He is getting ready to spray these almonds because of the damage the rain will cause   So it costs more money with fungicides. As a farmer I worry about the cost in addition to the environmental deals.”

With the early bloom popping up flowers each day, pollination is key with bees being needed. But, rain means no bees.

“They will be bloomed around Friday and it’s supposed to be raining Friday so the bees will not come out. The blossums are only viable for about 24 hours so if the bees don’t pollinate those that come out on Friday will not be pollinated.”

But, those that do get pollinated become beautiful almond flowers which not only attracts bees, but people taking photos. This blooms the issue of trespassing but not for the reason you might think.

“I don’t mind people taking pictures. We have more trouble with people with guns. (Laughs). Yeah and not asking for permission and unfortunately I live here and even a couple of feet from my house. Trespassing, hunting, and shooting and so forth. It’s just the matter of the idea of going into somebody else’s property or my backyard without asking for my permission.”

Despite the potential problems of rain and trespassers farmers still contend this will be a great almond season come spring. In Shafter, Adam Bowles 23ABC