For the Ceres Imaging team, knowing farmers’ problems is the key to our business, so our people spend a lot of time talking with farmers and growers. That includes the issues customers find thanks to our images, and other common problems. Here’s a roundup of the top five problems we heard about this year, and tips from industry authorities.

NOW-collage-export1.jpgExamples of 2017 Navel Orangeworm damage. Photo illustration with source images from Dr. Symmes’ presentation described below.

5) Navel Orangeworm is a common problem every year, but 2017’s hotter-than-average summer created a long gestation period for worms, and the population increased, according to farmers we talked to. Those farmers include a new team member at Ceres, Dirk Venn.

“Navel Orangeworm, that’s usually the biggest pest for most farmers. It kills the meat, so you’re losing the cash. For almonds, some farmers will spray for navel orangeworm two to three times a year. But for the most beneficial results, it’s best to spray around or during hull split, about a month before harvest of the almond, because when the hull of the nuts starts to split it creates a better living environment for the worm to settle in.“

For a whole lot more on preventing the spread of Navel Orangeworm, check out this blog that covers a talk by Dr. Emily Symmes, UCCE Area IPM Advisor for Sacramento Valley. Her talk at the Tree & Vine Expo in Turlock delved into the Navel Orangeworm topic in great detail.

4) Iron Bacteria is a common problem responsible for plugged up drip lines, according to our sales ace Jenna Rodriguez, who also happens to hold a PhD in hydrologic sciences, and who grew up in a farm town in the San Joaquin Valley.

"Your emitter is plugged up, and as it’s plugged up, it affects the pressure uniformity across the irrigation system, which causes inconsistent irrigation across the orchard,” Jenna says. “We've ID'd it with several growers in the greater Sacramento/Chico area. Water Stress imagery from Ceres can be a quick and easy indicator of iron bacteria clogging. In many cases, red dots that show up in our images are plugged emitters."

3) Phytophthora is a mold caused by wet weather and waterlogged roots. It’s a common problem for tree nuts, as our account executive Matt Ribeiro shares:

"With a wetter year this year, some California growers saw Phytophthora come up as an issue," Matt says. “On my family's walnut farm in the past season, looking at Ceres imagery, no matter what time of the week it was, our walnuts were showing to be highly unstressed. So we pulled water back because of that and this year, saw less Phytophthora. We were probably overwatering a little bit, so pulling back on that has helped."

2) Boron deficiency is an issue that cropped up this year, according to David Doll, who wrote a post for the excellent Almond Doctor blog.

Here’s what he wrote at The Almond Doctor:

Boron deficiency. This deficiency can occur in areas with clean surface water and low soil boron and is observed regularly on the east side of the central valley. Boron deficiency can lead to gum that crystallizes on the end of the kernel and is not in response to a feeding wound. A hull analysis should be conducted to determine boron levels as leaf levels are not indicative of tree boron status. A hull analysis under 80 ppm indicates deficiency and boron should be applied to the soil to bring the trees to sufficient levels.

1) Lastly, there’s Eutypa, a trunk disease that’s prevalent in California vineyards. Spores travel by wind and infect vines, and it’s preventable with pruning. How prevalent is Eutypa? Check out this chart from UC Davis’s Kendra Baumgartner, published on the Lodi Growers site:

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Here are a few tips on how to deal with Eutypa, thanks to this resource from the University of California and the Penn State Extension’s advice:

  • The earliest symptoms of the disease are cankers formed around pruning wounds. The cankers are hard to detect (beneath bark and can become flattened)
  • Symptoms of Eutypa dieback are apparent after the canker has become well established, perhaps 2 to 4 years after the infection of the pruning wound.
  • Remove infected limbs at least 1 foot below any sign of the disease…
  • There is less regrowth from pruning cuts if pruning is done in August. Ideally, pruning should be completed at least 6 weeks before the first fall rains.
  • Wound treatments with paints or sealants have not been satisfactory…
  • If pruning wounds are made outside of the preferred pruning period of July to August, use a fungicide to treat the wounds.
  • Single-trunk vines should be cut off at the ground line; double-trunk vines should be cut off at the junction of the second trunk.
  • Affected prunings must be removed from the vineyard immediately and destroyed.



Aerial imagery Pest and disease Precision agriculture

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The difference between Ceres Imaging and other technologies I've used is the help I get from their expert team.
Jake Samuel, Partner
Samuel Farms
With Ceres Imaging we can take a more targeted approach to applying fertilizer and nutrients.
Brian Fiscalini, Owner
Fiscalini Cheese Company
These flights can cover way more ground and provide more insight than a dozen soil moisture probes — and it's cheaper to implement.
Patrick Pinkard, Assistant Manager
Terranova Ranch
The average Ceres Imaging conductance measurement from its imagery over the season has provided the best correlation with applied water.
Blake Sanden
University of California Cooperative Extension