2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

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Casey Hartlip
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#51 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 13th, 2020, 6:23 am

Really not liking what the 10 day forecast is showing. Very dry out there for mid February.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#52 Post by Jim Hartten » February 13th, 2020, 8:54 am

Good to see the 2020 weather blog up and running! Hope you farmers get the additional rain needed to set up the 2020 growing season. Also hoping for and looking forward to a great west coast growing season and a stellar 2020 vintage. [cheers.gif]

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#53 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 13th, 2020, 3:13 pm

I was up and down the Valley the last 2 days and so no vineyards with standing water. Today is much cooler than the days earlier this week. The cover crop is now sprinkled with a good dose of mustard - it popped up yesterday. Of course the plant was there earlier, but the flowers just emerged.

Everywhere you go the conversation is about how fantastic the weather is and when are we going to get some more rain....
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#54 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 13th, 2020, 4:08 pm

IMG_20200213_153338583_HDR.jpg
Stopped to smell the Manzanita flowers on the driveway this afternoon. Another sign of false spring.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#55 Post by Kim Z » February 14th, 2020, 3:00 pm

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#56 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 17th, 2020, 8:40 pm

Feeling more uncomfortable with the California weather pattern. Things getting drier by the day. We are mowing pruning brush in fields we usually can't drive into during February. Small streams not running now. With dry soil the roots will warm up sooner and that COULD mean early budbreak if things continue. Lucky we have plenty of frost protection water stored but I can't say that for others in our area.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#57 Post by Stewart Johnson » February 17th, 2020, 9:22 pm

My irrigation pond is still 3 feet from being full, and I've never started the season being short of full. There's still time, but I'm starting to think about irrigation contingencies. For one thing, I have a small grafting project that may have to push back a year because grafted vines take extra water.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#58 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 20th, 2020, 7:21 pm

Funny to say but we are too far ahead on our pruning because of no rain. Short story: we have had too many nice weather days. We're going to back off to 4 day work weeks.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#59 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 25th, 2020, 6:34 am

Going to touch 80 degrees the next couple of days. Things pretty dry out there. I'd imagine some buds must be popping somewhere? Anyone?
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#60 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 25th, 2020, 7:44 am

60 degrees at 7:00 this morning and dry, dry, dry. At this rate we will be harvesting by 4th of July. That was a joke...I hope.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#61 Post by Jim Hartten » February 25th, 2020, 9:34 am

pileon Just saw a national weather service forecast calling for an early spring this year. [stirthepothal.gif]

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#62 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 25th, 2020, 5:43 pm

IMG_20200225_165936744_HDR.jpg
A little diversion from the vineyard rat race today. Took a walk around the edges today to clear my head. This one is called hounds tongue. Shooting stars and Indian paintbrush will be right behind. Say prayers for rain in Cali folks!
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#63 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 27th, 2020, 8:26 am

My single vine of Thompson seedless grapes has budbreak into small leaves. If the trend continues, I am looking at an August harvest. Lots can happen, but reading back to some earlier vintages, this type of "behavior" has been instigated by warm dry weather (but often followed by periods of rain). Let's see what is going to happen.

I am pruning this weekend.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#64 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 27th, 2020, 9:14 pm

Almost 80 degrees today, luckily the high on Saturday will be a more normal 59. No real rain in the next week which is troubling. I've heard folks saying there's a chance the storm door might open around March 7-8.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#65 Post by Joe Webb » February 28th, 2020, 2:58 pm

Edward H. Earles wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 4:15 am
Casey Hartlip wrote:
February 11th, 2020, 5:22 pm
The grape market will be a very big story as spring develops. More on that later.
There are lots of reports of a California grape glut in the wine press.
Grape and wine if Silicon Valley Bank is correct.

Were all ready for the vintage, pruned, frost sprinklers and fan tested. We just need more rain to delay bud break and fill the pond. Only one storm over 1" of rainfall and right now we have had less rain than the '13-'15 drought. '13-'15 we still got 20-22" but we had multiple 4-8" events that created surface runoff. This year every bit has soaked in with no runoff. The Navarro river at the Pacific has the sand bar back again as the Navarro is not flowing enough to open it.

On the business side traffic is us as the weather is warm and dry and Lake Tahoe has less than ideal conditions. Last weekend was a very successful rebranding of the Anderson Valley White Wine Weekend, still recovering from the long week to get the event pulled off.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#66 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 1st, 2020, 8:12 am

We just had a few sprinkles on the north side of the house. Nothing to the south! Praying for more. It's cool, grey, and windy. The cover crop is knee high and beautiful. The vineyard is newly pruned and those babies are certainly awake. Weeping like crazy.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#67 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 1st, 2020, 5:40 pm

Nice to see it get cold again. 32 this morning. I'm told it's been an awesome bloom for the almonds in the central valley, which makes sense. Hope those guys have enough water to farm this season. I figure we have about two more weeks of pruning. Ladies following behind tying canes to the wire. Sure would like to spend a week down in AZ for spring training while not much going on but we're working on a huge domestic project. Lots of unsold grapes and bulk wine. Gonna be a bloody couple of years.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#68 Post by Paul Gordon » March 1st, 2020, 7:46 pm

We have been fortunate as our February high temps have been in the 50s/low 60s until late last week, when we got to 72F. No sign of bud-break and the last two days have got under freezing (with highs in the 40s). That cooler weather combined with pruning the week of March 9th should push bud-break into early April. Now just praying for more rain. We need a March miracle!

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#69 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 3rd, 2020, 10:37 am

IMG_20200303_094233197_HDR.jpg
Here's Zip demonstrating how thirsty the cover crop is. It really hasn't moved much in the past month.
IMG_20200303_091722466_HDR.jpg
Young Chard getting closer to budbreak. I walked lots of fields today and everything else pretty darn tight.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#70 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 3rd, 2020, 3:57 pm

I'm feeling my vines would appreciate a drink. At 4:00 this afternoon it is still 84 degrees and dry, dry, dry.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#71 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 3rd, 2020, 5:04 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
March 3rd, 2020, 3:57 pm
I'm feeling my vines would appreciate a drink. At 4:00 this afternoon it is still 84 degrees and dry, dry, dry.
Kind of hard to drink when you're asleep. I believe March will be good to us eventually, and April could be a gift.

Folks starting to flush frost sprinkler systems in our area, so a visitor might think we're watering the vines when in fact that's not the case. Many folks don't have much water so they will be cautious as to how they use it.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#72 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 3rd, 2020, 7:49 pm

My vines are not sleeping. If they were sleeping, they would not bring that sap up to the cuts. They would not have buds ready to pop.

People are talking about rain during much of next week. That would be great. We hit 84 for much of the afternoon today...way too warm for early March. I may take the opportunity tomorrow to de-bug the irrigation system while delivering a bit of moisture. Turning on the system is the only way to find breaks, leaks, and coyote bites that are otherwise not visible to the eye. Yeah, the vines will get a drink tomorrow.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#73 Post by Kim Z » March 4th, 2020, 6:37 am

It has been bone dry down here in Ventura county. This season's rainfall is 8.8" - normal is ~15" and last year was 22".

We pruned 3 weeks ago and have irrigated our hillside vines weekly since.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#74 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 6th, 2020, 5:56 pm

Totally bummed about the weather now. Looks like this little bullshit storm is going to possibly give us a tenth of and inch and move on. The 'series' of storms that was predicted for early next week seems to have changed their minds. This is getting serious for us and probably most folks south of the Oregon border.

I'm planning a meeting soon with all of my crew (we have 9 worker houses) to talk about the coming summer. Our ranch has some of the best watershed and storage (8 ponds) for frost and irrigation but our domestic water system is not great. Most years my people have enjoyed big vegetable gardens, but if things keep at this place we're going to have to change some of that.

I've talked with some other farmers and they are terrified about water. If we have a long frost season this year many could use up all of their bullets frost protecting and not have any water for summer irrigation. I'm not making any predictions but this is becoming the story of the vine of 2020 so far.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#75 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 7th, 2020, 8:52 am

It rained overnight, cleared, and is now raining again. Just beautiful. A light rain, not a deluge, but rain nonetheless.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#76 Post by Steve Edmunds » March 7th, 2020, 11:09 am

.16 and counting this morning in Berkeley!

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#77 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 7th, 2020, 5:00 pm

Steve Edmunds wrote:
March 7th, 2020, 11:09 am
.16 and counting this morning in Berkeley!
I saw some weather models for the coming week showing the LA area getting some serious rain while we get next to nothing. Sad in Mendo! [swearing.gif]
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#78 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 7th, 2020, 5:13 pm

The sun is out. We got the topsoil wet - that's about it. Hope there is more on the way. Cab buds are tight. Plenty of weeping vines out there since last week's pruning. The birds love it.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#79 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 8th, 2020, 8:38 am

First frost of the season this morning. My weather station days it got down to 30. Saving our water but may have got a touch of burn. Will look tomorrow
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#80 Post by Joe Webb » March 8th, 2020, 10:24 am

All the Boonville fans ran last night. Were not "out" yet but better safe than sorry.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#81 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 8th, 2020, 5:23 pm

IMG-20200308-WA0004.jpg
The dewpoint was probably pretty high last night, which is why we had no damage. The fog came in late this morning too.
Last edited by Casey Hartlip on March 8th, 2020, 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#82 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 11th, 2020, 3:26 pm

I saw in the forecast rain for this coming Saturday and Sunday. Let's see if that forecast persists.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#83 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 11th, 2020, 5:39 pm

IMG_20200311_125046079.jpg
It pays to have talented friends. My buddy Evan from the coast came to inspect the suction in one our ponds. While starting up this pump we got a bunch pond weeds stuck in the pump intake. There's never a full day or a new challenge for a farmer. BTW that rust colored stuff is azola, a floating pond weed. The stuff causing the problems is growing near the bottom.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#84 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 11th, 2020, 5:59 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 3:26 pm
I saw in the forecast rain for this coming Saturday and Sunday. Let's see if that forecast persists.
Three quarters predicted here. Will help the livestock folks to keep the hills green for a while longer. Not going to fill many ponds unfortunately.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#85 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 12th, 2020, 9:29 am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 5:59 pm
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 3:26 pm
I saw in the forecast rain for this coming Saturday and Sunday. Let's see if that forecast persists.
Three quarters predicted here. Will help the livestock folks to keep the hills green for a while longer. Not going to fill many ponds unfortunately.
3/4 inch will wet my soil for my vineyard, cover crop, and yard landscaping. No ponds here. All is irrigated with fresh, clear water from my well, which the rainfall will help fill as well (no pun intended). I will put a bucket out so I can measure - anything is better than nothing, though!
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#86 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 13th, 2020, 10:05 am

IMG_20200313_095559429_HDR.jpg
Here's a little farming 101. Top pic is what most of us refer to as 'pencil eraser' stage of budbreak.
IMG_20200313_095646543_HDR.jpg
This is what I call 'clam shell' which means the first two leaves are not opened yet and are somewhat protecting the bud. This stage is also called 'green tissue'.
If we were to get down to 30 degrees I would not protect fields with pencil eraser but I would green tissue.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#87 Post by Stewart Johnson » March 13th, 2020, 1:58 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 5:39 pm
IMG_20200311_125046079.jpg
It pays to have talented friends. My buddy Evan from the coast came to inspect the suction in one our ponds. While starting up this pump we got a bunch pond weeds stuck in the pump intake. There's never a full day or a new challenge for a farmer. BTW that rust colored stuff is azola, a floating pond weed. The stuff causing the problems is growing near the bottom.
That's a miserable job.
One thing about the floating weeds is that they can pull a lot of nitrogen and phosphorous out of your pond water and clear it up if you can get them out before they decompose. My irrigation pond was formerly a dairy manure pond, and algae was a huge problem until I had a huge outbreak of floating duckweed. I was lucky that it occurred during a wet year and that my pond outflow is on the downwind side. I floated tons of the duckweed out without having to do much more that keep the outflow opening clear, and the algae cleared up for years afterward. I still battle hydrilla though, and have had to make that swim to clear the pump inlet more times than I'd like.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#88 Post by Paul Gordon » March 14th, 2020, 11:11 am

Stewart Johnson wrote:
March 13th, 2020, 1:58 pm
Casey Hartlip wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 5:39 pm
IMG_20200311_125046079.jpg
It pays to have talented friends. My buddy Evan from the coast came to inspect the suction in one our ponds. While starting up this pump we got a bunch pond weeds stuck in the pump intake. There's never a full day or a new challenge for a farmer. BTW that rust colored stuff is azola, a floating pond weed. The stuff causing the problems is growing near the bottom.
That's a miserable job.
One thing about the floating weeds is that they can pull a lot of nitrogen and phosphorous out of your pond water and clear it up if you can get them out before they decompose. My irrigation pond was formerly a dairy manure pond, and algae was a huge problem until I had a huge outbreak of floating duckweed. I was lucky that it occurred during a wet year and that my pond outflow is on the downwind side. I floated tons of the duckweed out without having to do much more that keep the outflow opening clear, and the algae cleared up for years afterward. I still battle hydrilla though, and have had to make that swim to clear the pump inlet more times than I'd like.
I suspect the duckweed also blocked the light.

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#89 Post by Paul Gordon » March 14th, 2020, 11:16 am

We have wet snow at the moment. Just above freezing so not sticking.
We have a few buds at the pencil eraser stage, most tight, so not so worried about frost exposure just yet. However, nice to see that this weather system is forecasted to warm over the next few days. Our coolest temps are typically on back side of a cold front.

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#90 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 14th, 2020, 12:05 pm

We had some lovely rainfall overnight, and now some intermittent showers mixed with periods of sunshine. Cold! 50s and windy.

My Cabernet is still tight, so it is not flowing closely to my lone table grape vine, which as leafed out.

Neighbors have been testing out their frost protection. Cab's not out, but some nearby growers have Grenache and many other varieties that I think tend to bud out earlier. Not sure what. I only grow Cabernet and one Thomson Seedless, which is always the forerunner.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#91 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 14th, 2020, 8:00 pm

We are ON frost alert from here on. I talked to both of my foremen this afternoon. We decided which fields to protect and which not to. The current air mass is cold and dry. I'm guessing for tonight we'll have enough instability and showers to keep us safe. Fingers crossed.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#92 Post by Stewart Johnson » March 15th, 2020, 11:29 am

Tom DeBiase wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 7:24 pm
Stewart Johnson wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 12:56 pm
Casey, have you been able to find a spray for weed control that is organic? Sure would be cheaper than hand-digging weeds like I do here.
After hearing from quite a few people that Weed Slayer is a game changer for organic herbicide, I'm giving it a whirl this year. Wilbur Ellis is a North Bay supplier, but it was cheaper online from Arbico Organics in AZ. I'll be spraying it in the next week, and it supposedly takes quite a while to show results, but I'll report back eventually. It's significantly more expensive than Roundup, and I'm sort of expecting to need a second pass, but it still has to be cheaper than hoeing. My under-vine strips are on a side-slope in quite a bit of the vineyard, and I'm not anxious to disturb the soil there by either mechanical or manual means. That would leave weed-eating as the organic alternative if Weed Slayer doesn't turn out to be an answer.
[/quote]

This is interesting as Weed Slayer is derived from Eugenol which is about 80-90% of the active ingredient of clove oil. Worked with these ingredients and while not the most aromatic, Eugenol is pretty tenacious in its lasting power and flavor. It would not take much to add a decidedly spicy note to the wine :)

I'm not suggesting there will be carry over from the vineyard spraying but would be very careful having any in the winery that somehow could wind up in a bin or tank (thinking glove, clothes, instrument for testing, spillage, etc etc.

Tom
[/quote]
I had been sort of looking forward to the clove aromas, but they didn't really show up in the vineyard. Weed Slayer does make my shipping container, where it is stored, smell nice.
I'd say this application of Weed Slayer was effective enough that I'll try it again next year. This year wasn't a real stiff test because the cover crop was so light, everywhere in my vineyard and surrounding grasslands. I caught it at about 2" under the vines, which is about what is recommended. At that level of growth, the kill was pretty good. I remain unconvinced that spraying an organic product on such paltry growth is better for my soil than spraying Roundup on a healthier stand of cover crop. We'll see how it performs on a better developed cover crop next year. A spot spray on some taller grass in the vicinity of a leaky pipe was somewhat encouraging.
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Casey Hartlip
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#93 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 16th, 2020, 1:46 pm

We had a wet 30 last night (meaning the dewpoint was high) and luckily the field we couldn't protect received no damage.
IMG_20200316_132109829_HDR.jpg
This is why. Just a little 10 inch mainline with some issues. Just another reason I love my guys so much. I've been the guy in the ditch many times before. Now I get to drive up and watch.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#94 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 18th, 2020, 5:40 pm

I caught wind from a neighbor that a visiting Spanish speaking doctor was wanting to visit local vineyards and wineries to inform workers on the Coronavirus. She was wonderful. Spent about 30 minutes informing them of what to do. Had a good Q & A session afterwards. She wouldn't let me pay her either. God bless.
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Merrill Lindquist
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#95 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 19th, 2020, 8:09 am

We are still getting plenty of rain here, thankfully.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#96 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 20th, 2020, 6:59 am

A full-on frost protection is going on out there this morning. I first noticed the sound at about 4:30.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#97 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 20th, 2020, 4:42 pm

Totally lucked out last night. We've been having problems with a 10 inch steel suction line feeding one of our frost pumps.
IMG-20200320-WA0007.jpg
Steel and PVC pipe are not the same size....even if they are 10 inch. It takes special fittings that aren't commonly stocked. We've had about 30 acres unprotected for the last 5 nights. It got down to 34 this morning. We got lucky. Pipe is fixed now.....I hope.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#98 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 22nd, 2020, 6:34 am

Well CRAP! Looks like the stormy week that was predicted a few days ago is losing steam.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#99 Post by Edward H. Earles » March 22nd, 2020, 8:08 am

Casey, what are you hearing from your customers about grape demand? In our state, as in some others, restaurants and bars have been ordered closed to dine-in customers. That's got to put a damper on the wine market.

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#100 Post by Casey Hartlip » March 22nd, 2020, 5:37 pm

Edward H. Earles wrote:
March 22nd, 2020, 8:08 am
Casey, what are you hearing from your customers about grape demand? In our state, as in some others, restaurants and bars have been ordered closed to dine-in customers. That's got to put a damper on the wine market.
Nobody wants to talk about fruit purchase for obvious reasons. Kind of think we're on hold for a couple of months to see where we stand. In the mean time my crew and I must move forward likes it's another year..... because it is. Grapevines are like milk cows, if you have them you better be prepared to care for them.

FWIW getting a nice heavy shower from a thunderstorm minus the thunder.
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