Articles - West Coast Nut

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Know Your Nurseryman

In the mid-1980s, a new disease threatened to wipe out the entire U.S. hazelnut industry. Eastern filbert blight (EFB) made its way from the East Coast to Oregon, and the trees of the Willamette Valley were not resistant. After years of research and collaboration, the Oregon hazelnut industry pulled through with new varieties resistant to the blight. Integral to winning this battle were the responsible hazelnut nurserymen and propagators. These gatekeepers of the industry are responsible for supplying a growing orchard landscape and take their role very seriously. Trees arriving in the Willamette Valley from unapproved sources may not be...

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Self-Fertile Almonds Gain in Popularity

Self-fertile almond varieties that don’t require a pollinizer, need fewer or even no beehives to set a crop and allow one-pass harvests are gaining market share as growers look to maximize profit per acre. Although there will still be a place for varieties, such as Nonpareil, that have unique kernel characteristics but require a pollinizer, industry leaders say self-fertile varieties are here to stay. Independence, a self-fertile variety developed by Zaiger Genetics and licensed to Hickman-based Dave Wilson Nursery, entered the market about 15 years ago. Since then, acreage has continued to increase and now accounts for about 2 percent...

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Resurgence of Perennial Phytophthora Canker Disease of Almonds

Many species of Phytophthora continue to cause serious losses in California almond orchards. Collectively, these pathogens affect almond trees of all ages, causing decline and death in young orchards in their first few years of development as well as in bearing and fully mature orchards in their prime. We tend to name diseases caused by Phytophthora with reference to the tree parts most obviously affected, for example, Phytophthora species cause “root rot,” “crown rot,” “trunk and scaffold cankers,” and “pruning wound cankers.” At least 10 different species of Phytophthora are known to infect almonds, varying in tree parts they attack...

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A Day in the Life of a Grower, Handler

This February, the Almond Board of California (ABC) hosted more than 20 influential supply chain stakeholders at its first-ever Almond Sustainability Tour. These stakeholders represent food companies from across the globe, including General Mills, Campbell Soup Company, Coca Cola and Seeberger, and hold various roles within their company’s sustainability programs, from leaders of entire sustainability programs to directors of supply chain and sourcing to heads of global procurement. Led by ABC’s Trade Stewardship and Sustainability teams, the tour was aimed at providing key decision makers in the supply chain with a first-hand look at the California almond industry’s responsible growing...

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The Next Generation of Walnut Rootstock Aims at Resistance to Soil-Borne Pathogens

A multi-disciplinary collaboration is underway to develop and deploy walnut rootstocks with resistance to the major soil-borne pathogens, specifically crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens), Phytophthora root/crown rot (Phytophthora spp.), and lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus vulnus). According to Dr. Ali McClean with the USDA’s Crop Pathology and Genetics Research Unit at UC Davis, a significant proportion of the walnut industry uses either seedling or clonal ‘Paradox’ rootstocks, which is susceptible to disease caused by several soil-borne pathogens. McClean said since there are limited preplant and post-plant management strategies for these stresses, rootstocks with elevated levels of genetic resistance/tolerance to these pathogens offer the...

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Take Advantage of Fertigation Opportunities

Tree nut growers using pressurized irrigation systems in their orchards have the opportunity to fertigate, but may not be maximizing the opportunities it offers. Fertigation—injecting crop nutrients through the irrigation system—enables a more precise fertilizer application, flexibility in timing applications, saves labor, and can reduce production costs. Advantages of using fertigation are lost if growers or farm managers choose the “one size fits all” approach of standard fertilizer rates and irrigation timing. Water and nutrients are delivered to the trees, but growers won’t achieve maximum nutrient use efficiency.  The four Rs of nutrition still apply in fertigation: right rate, right source,...

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