Articles - West Coast Nut


The Impending Impact of CalSavers

For many years, both the state legislature and California’s governor have expressed concern over the long-term future of our workforce. Across industries, many employees do not have access to company-sponsored retirement programs. While opening personal individual retirement investment accounts is an option, in the eyes of our elected officials, without an employer serving as the impetus for that action, it just wouldn’t happen. This train of thought led to the creation of CalSavers, a California-sponsored individual retirement program, which continues to move forward throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. It is essential that agricultural employers understand the program, their role in it...

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Healthy Soil Practices Bring Economic and Environmental Benefits to Almond Growers

If almond growers are wondering about the economic and environmental benefits of healthy soils farming practices, new evidence shows investment in healthy soil practices has definitely been worthwhile for two almond farms in California’s San Joaquin Valley.  American Farmland Trust (AFT) released eight “Accelerating Soil Health” case studies recently, which document the benefits of soil health growing practices on farm incomes and the environment.  For almond production, healthy soils practices include cover cropping, nutrient management (leaf sampling, fertigation and targeted fertilizer applications), mulching the prunings, and compost application. The participating growers for the two California case studies were Ralf Sauter...

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Controlling Pest Birds in Pistachios and Almonds

Hearing that loud ‘caw caw caw’ sound in your pistachio orchard can be a signal that one of the most destructive bird pests has invaded. Scare tactics including rotating distress calls, cannons and gunfire have been standard procedure to convince crows to feed elsewhere. Now, new drone technology may offer improved crop protection. There are several bird species that can cause substantial crop damage by feeding on developing nuts in almond and pistachio orchards, but crows have nested as the primary bird pest due to their size and habits. In almond orchards, crows will start feeding in the early summer...

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Regional Board Rules Put Walnut Hullers Under the Microscope

Over the past year, the agricultural industry has observed as the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) make sweeping changes to discharging regulations specific to agricultural regions and specific processing facilities.  With the passage of SB 200 – Safe Drinking Water Fund (Monning), as well as the passage of the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability Program (CV-SALTS) by the Regional Board, water quality and discharges from agricultural operations are now even further under the microscope.  Late last year, a notice was sent to interested stakeholders that the Regional Board would be taking up a vote...

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New Water Blueprint Looks at Impacts of Water Supply Shortages

A new effort is underway to help solve some of California’s most difficult water supply challenges. The Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley (Blueprint) evolved out of discussions among water users in the San Joaquin Valley to address surface water reductions, groundwater overdraft, subsidence, and meeting the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The Blueprint is supported by a broad coalition of water users that are continuing to seek input from all stakeholders including local governments, public water agencies, agriculture industry representatives, disadvantaged communities, environmental organizations, academia, and others. The Blueprint group recently commissioned UC Berkeley researchers...

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Benefits of Cover Crops in Nut Orchards Depend on Site and Region

Integrating cover crops into tree nut orchards can promote soil health and dust reduction benefits, but achieving the desired results may take a reality check. The grower should consider their goals with a cover crop and how it fits into their management system, sources said. They should understand that cover crop goals are not achieved in one season and benefits from this practice may not be realized until the system has been in place for several years. As soil organic matter increases over time, cover crop viability also increases.   Choosing the Right Seed Mix Pistachio and almond growers in...

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