Weather and Pest Control this Season In Kern County

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke with Glenn Fankhauser, Agricultural Commissioner for Kern County. He let us know his thoughts about the weather in his county this season.

He said it has been a mild winter and it may affect future crop production. “We are not sure how it is going to affect fruit set. It could be negative for some of our stone fruits and cherries, but on the bright side, the mild weather allows farmers to plant certain field and vegetable crops earlier than normal,” Frankhauser said. “The little rain and shortage of water will challenge growers again this year.”

Fankhauser says that Kern County is doing what they can to stop Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, which is spread by the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP).  HLB is the number one disease in citrus because once a tree is infected with a bacterium, it is deadly to the tree.

“We have our traps set, we are monitoring the levels, and we have a treatment coordinator that helps the growers to maximize their effect on the Asian Citrus Psyllid,” Frankhauser said.  “By making sure the treatments are precisely coordinated, they are able to knock down more of the populations. There have not been any positive HLB trees in Kern County.”

Of course, any trees that become positive to the disease are immediately destroyed.

“We also have a group of citrus growers who are visiting homeowners and gaining voluntary removal of citrus trees at home,” he said. “They pay a nominal amount of money to allow a citrus tree to be removed. Once removed, they replace the citrus tree with a non-citrus shade tree.”