2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

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Merrill Lindquist
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#101 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Right now, the forecast for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday looks the most promising. Seems like they keep pushing the expectation for rain out as the days go by.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#102 Post by Casey Hartlip »

On my way home from a great 10 day road trip. Talked to my brother yesterday and he said Bay Area weather folks were talking about the possibility of the 'storm door' swinging open. Sounds like wishful thinking. I've been studying the 10 day every day and I think we're screwed. Word is a few buds are cracking (not bud break yet). A good warm spell will get these vines moving soon. Almonds all along I-5 are way past bloom. BTW they are already irrigating those trees.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#103 Post by Joe Webb »

Storm started late but we did get the inch forecased. Another inch mon/tue, would bring us to 10” for the year, still lowest on record. It will take miracle march to even get to 20”, half our normal.

Models say storm door stays open thru 3rd week of month well see.

Frost predicted tonight, not enough sap running to worry about protecting yet.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#104 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

Joe Webb wrote: March 6th, 2021, 7:43 am Storm started late but we did get the inch forecased. Another inch mon/tue, would bring us to 10” for the year, still lowest on record. It will take miracle march to even get to 20”, half our normal.

Models say storm door stays open thru 3rd week of month well see.

Frost predicted tonight, not enough sap running to worry about protecting yet.
Your inch in Anderson Valley was only a quarter-inch down here in the Russian River Valley. We did get a good soaking rain but it didn't last long.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#105 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Took my gooseneck to Windsor today and drove through some serious showers. I'm talking the type you have to slow down even with wipers on high. The folks in Philo got very little during the same time frame, but I'm happy to report some decent showers here now.

Trellis supplies are scarce. Usually they have tens of thousands 9 foot hwy stakes...today I took all 350 they had. I use 9 ft pipe end posts with single spade......sold out. Hwy stakes might possibly be supplied in 3 weeks! Sure glad I don't have a big development going on right now. Oh and prices are up 30% since November.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#106 Post by Stewart Johnson »

Casey Hartlip wrote: March 9th, 2021, 5:04 pm Took my gooseneck to Windsor today and drove through some serious showers. I'm talking the type you have to slow down even with wipers on high. The folks in Philo got very little during the same time frame, but I'm happy to report some decent showers here now.

Trellis supplies are scarce. Usually they have tens of thousands 9 foot hwy stakes...today I took all 350 they had. I use 9 ft pipe end posts with single spade......sold out. Hwy stakes might possibly be supplied in 3 weeks! Sure glad I don't have a big development going on right now. Oh and prices are up 30% since November.
Crud. I was near Central Valley Builders today and thought about picking up some hwy stakes but passed. Sounds like there's more urgency about scrounging these up than I had realized. My original line stakes are wood. I've always needed to replace 100 or so with steel ones every year, but at the 20 year mark, the failure rate is really picking up.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#107 Post by William Segui »

Hailing in Calistoga

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#108 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20210311_124344986_HDR.jpg
Spur from Chard vine starting to think about it.
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Bud on a Chard cane is even closer.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#109 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20210311_131507720.jpg
Beauty shot of my Gruner block's cover. The mustard got a jump start on the legumes, but they are the understory. Peas and beans hardly have a bloom yet.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#110 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

My mustard has passed, while the beans are in full white flower, and the peas are showing their pinks and tendrils.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#111 Post by Casey Hartlip »

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Here come the peas!
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#112 Post by Casey Hartlip »

My barometer says the high pressure dome is kicking the current cold fronts ass as usual. Two days ago rainfall was predicted at .90 now they're saying .50.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#113 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

I just noticed bud break on my organic Thompson Seedless table grapes. I mean visible leaves, not just eraserhead. The best is yet to come (the Cabernet).
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#114 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Another storm, another disappointment.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#115 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

It is raining very steadily here this morning. Casey, are you not receiving this rain?
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#116 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Merrill Lindquist wrote: March 18th, 2021, 8:24 am It is raining very steadily here this morning. Casey, are you not receiving this rain?
Grand total for 48 hours......28". Big woop!
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#117 Post by Edward H. Earles »

28 inches!! Did you build an arc?

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#118 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Edward H. Earles wrote: March 19th, 2021, 8:51 am 28 inches!! Did you build an arc?
Point 28".

Local weather folks say we won't see any more rain in March.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#119 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Typical March weather. Cold and windy. Really shitty day to be working out in the wind. Trellis repair continues with 6 men on the project now. Other folks tying canes to the wire. We are probably about 8-10 days from having enough growth to frost protect.
The peas are starting to kick.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#120 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Bell beans are quite a bit behind.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#121 Post by Joe Webb »

Cant believe they waited this long to wake up. Still pencil erasers but everyone in Boonville turned fans on last night.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#122 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Joe Webb wrote: March 23rd, 2021, 9:56 am Cant believe they waited this long to wake up. Still pencil erasers but everyone in Boonville turned fans on last night.
Feeling lucky just like you Joe that budbreak has been delayed. But the reality of the drought is now upon us. We have HALF of our normal rainfall as the rainy season winds down. That follows last year with similar numbers. Things are dry and I know I've said this before, but it looks like we're screwed. It's entirely possible that we will use up all of our availabile water frost protecting. It's too early to think about it but.... I'm starting to look at which fields we will not water and which we will try to pamper. Looks like harvest #42 is gonna be fun!
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#123 Post by R M Kriete »

Forgive my farming naivete, but.... If lack of water is the main issue, would it not be better to NOT frost protect?
-Obviously crop yields would be down as a result, but water saved would then be available to sustain that reduced crop throughout the year
-Frost protection results in a larger crop, but what's the point if you don't have enough water left over to sustain such a large crop?

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#124 Post by Casey Hartlip »

R M Kriete wrote: March 24th, 2021, 5:25 am Forgive my farming naivete, but.... If lack of water is the main issue, would it not be better to NOT frost protect?
-Obviously crop yields would be down as a result, but water saved would then be available to sustain that reduced crop throughout the year
-Frost protection results in a larger crop, but what's the point if you don't have enough water left over to sustain such a large crop?
A completely fair question. I have farmed frost damaged vineyards a few times over the years, and it's a nightmare. Post frost shoots are delayed and very late in pushing. Then a ton of extra sucker growth kicks in....with very little fruit on them. You wind up doing lots of extra hand work to manage the vines.
Then you still have to continue your normal spray program. You might even have to increase your fungicide program because of the extra foliage.
Luckily we are farming on some pretty generous soils at our location in Anderson Valley. Our plan is to protect the crop and try for maximum weed control. (We usually till every other row, but will do 100% cultivation). We will also hope (yes I know hope is not a strategy) that we get some rains in April and May to carry us. We will likely wind up dropping lots of crop, but I'd rather do that than have a very small and delayed crop on vines with crazy post frost growth.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#125 Post by R M Kriete »

Thanks Caey....and that's why I'm not a farmer [wink.gif]

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#126 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20210325_110801673_HDR.jpg
Zip is about 10" at the shoulder, so this is about our best stand of cover crop. I think about 8-10 days we will start mowing it. Starting to see more pencil eraser stage buds. It might frost tonight but with such little water, those vines are gonna be on their own.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#127 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20210326_192426022.jpg
Once again Casey carrying the thread. WTF y'all gonna do when I retire? Anyway, some bell beans now starting to feel spring!
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#128 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

Well it’s not exactly farming but my fava beans just put out their first flowers flirtysmile everything in the garden is going on a tear with the warmer weather. Lows are staying in the 40s every day now, and highs in the 70s, so the gears are really starting to turn.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#129 Post by Casey Hartlip »

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Gruner is out!
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#130 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Going to gt weeds between the vines hand dug tomorrow. Then will get the tractor in to mow and turn under. I need to check for bud break - a couple of days ago the Cab was still tight.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#131 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Merrill Lindquist wrote: March 27th, 2021, 10:19 am Going to get weeds between the vines hand dug tomorrow. Then will get the tractor in to mow and turn under. I need to check for bud break - a couple of days ago the Cab was still tight.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#132 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20210328_093801056_HDR.jpg
Nature walk today with Zip. Hounds tongue (not pictured) and Indian Warrior are the early wildflowers each year. With such a dry season (so far) it might be a very short wildflower season.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#133 Post by William Segui »

yesterday morning drove by a Chard vineyard in the AM, you could see green shoot tips but nothing more. drove past same vineyard yesterday afternoon - 50%+ had a visible growth & a leaf pushed. We are off and running

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#134 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Frost season is here. Both ranches are flushed, charged and ready. This morning was a shit show. Plan was to get both tractors mowing cover crop for 10+ hours each. Instead one had a hydraulic leak AND heater core leak in the cab. Hopefully parts arrive tomorrow. Luckily while the guys were figuring that out I got a mower mounted to our backup tractor. We lost 6 man hours of tractor time....but it was a Monday I guess. Hoping all parts arrive UPS tomorrow.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#135 Post by Edward H. Earles »

My peach trees are blooming and we're supposed to have a low of 21 on Thursday night..... :( :(

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#136 Post by Bdklein »

Edward H. Earles wrote: March 30th, 2021, 9:06 am My peach trees are blooming and we're supposed to have a low of 21 on Thursday night..... :( :(
Where ??
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#137 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Neighbors wind machines started at 3:30 this morning. We were at 35 then. I never went back to bed. We got down to 33.....and our afternoon high was 80. Both tractor drivers putting in 10+ hour days now. Both hand crews still tying canes as they start to push. I did get a 30 minute nap this afternoon, otherwise I would have never made it.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#138 Post by Edward H. Earles »

Bdklein wrote: March 30th, 2021, 5:36 pm
Edward H. Earles wrote: March 30th, 2021, 9:06 am My peach trees are blooming and we're supposed to have a low of 21 on Thursday night..... :( :(
Where ??
I'm in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. I'm not a west-coast grower, I'm just a gardener commiserating with those of you dealing with frost.

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#139 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

I noticed some limited budbreak on my Cabernet yesterday. This is in sync with 2017 and 2020.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#140 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20210331_182618503_HDR.jpg
Chard in one of my warm spots.

10 day says no rain, so our strategy of hope hasn't worked. We are turning cover crop in now. Love the smell of fresh soil.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#141 Post by Chris C a r y »

I'm not even seeing much bud swelling yet in Washington Naches Heights. Normal bud break for me has been ~4/20, about 2 weeks later than hotter areas, and it will have to hurry to make that this year. We've had a cool, mild spring, wind machines running in the tree fruit orchards a few nights, but generally stuck between 35-65. Saw snow for about 15 minutes last Sunday evening that did not stick at my 1750 ft, but did at 2000+.

I got my Gewurz removed, and will be prepping for mourvedre and alvarinho addition/replacement planting around May 1 or so.

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#142 Post by Casey Hartlip »

10 day shows no rain. Looks like that's about it. I think some of the hillside and mountain vineyards will really struggle this year. Just my luck we'll set a beautiful big crop and have to drop half of it to make it to the finish line. My final harvest isn't gonna be easy.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#143 Post by Stewart Johnson »

First disc pass done today. First fungicide spray (mineral oil) tomorrow. There's not a whole lot of green to aim at, but I'll just go down every other row and count on overspray covering the adjacent rows.
I feel like cultivating is the most therapeutic thing in farming. I'd really rather avoid it, for my soil's sake, but with no irrigation water this year, I'm taking out all the competition I can. And it sure feels like you're getting a lot of work done while you're knocking down the cover crop. When I was in high school, I worked for the hardest working guy in the world. He farmed grapes, walnuts, prunes and sheep, did body and fender repair, welding fabrication and repair and fronted a Country band. We would be buried in about 5 pressing projects and, to my chagrin, he would disappear for a day on the tractor with a disc on the back just to restore his mental health. I'm starting to see his point.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#144 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Nice post. I've turned my share of soil over the years. Now I just guide my guys. I did do lots of mowing on good Friday and the following days while my crew was off.

As stated before we are going 100% till this year due to lack of irrigation water. So far all equipment is holding up. Ladies just finished tying today. They will now start dropping wires in the VSP blocks.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#145 Post by Casey Hartlip »

We have 9 worker houses on the property, I live in one of them. Yesterday I held a meeting with my crew preparing them for the summer. No washing cars. No doing laundry for friends and family that don't life on the property. And hardest of all is no gardens. If you want a couple of tomato plants they must be in pots and hand watered. Counting children we have about 22 people counting on one well.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#146 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

My vineyard is getting mowed and disked as I type. Sure is a different look out there compared to the waist-high vegetation that has been there for some months.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#147 Post by Casey Hartlip »

My guys now have 175 acres disked in all rows. Gonna be a dusty summer.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#148 Post by Paul Gordon »

We had a flirt with freezing this morning (34F) and same forecast for the next two mornings. Thankfully it is windy, preventing any localized pooling of cold air. Not a lot of exposure with some pushing but just the odd Grenache bud threatening to leaf out.

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#149 Post by Casey Hartlip »

We got lucky last night. Overcast skies came in and kept things from freezing. 36 out there right now at 5:45 am. Looks like we're headed to a dry 10 days with little risk of frost.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#150 Post by Joe Webb »

Was just about to post the same Casey. We just put down our first sulfur spray. Still mowing and getting ready to install a couple of new outdoor pergolas for tasting in. Pinot Passport weekend tickets go on sale Monday. Cellarpass.com is what were using so you can set your itinerary for the 3 days based on first come first serve. It will book up fast.

https://www.avwines.com/pinot-month/passport-weekend
Drink to remember not to forget!
ITB- Proprietor & Winemaker Foursight Wines, GM Londer Vineyards (RIP 2001-2013)

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