Almonds Archives - West Coast Nut

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‘Moonshot’ Effort Needed to Build Future Agricultural Water Supply


After decades of over-pumping groundwater, California faces declining aquifers and stark choices – a future so challenging that a collective “moonshot” effort is needed to preserve irrigation supplies and viable agriculture in many parts of the state. That message was the theme among experts participating in a panel at The Almond Conference 2019 focused on the state’s landmark 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA. SGMA requires many areas to balance supply and demand for groundwater, leaving local regions scrambling to develop plans to ration pumping while figuring out how to return more water to aquifers during times of plentiful rain. Jesse Roseman, principal analyst for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs at the Almond Board of California (ABC), led the panel. Roseman said ABC conducts research, education and outreach to help almond growers understand their opportunities for shoring up water supplies through efforts like groundwater recharge. “We’re looking very closely at...

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What’s New in Pollination


Ensuring pollinator health is an important part of the almond industry’s future. Josette Lewis, Almond Board of California’s director of Agricultural Affairs, drove home that point in a panel discussion on innovations in pollination at The Almond Conference. Almond productivity starts with healthy bees and bee health impacts consumer perception of the sustainability of almond production. New ways to improve bee health and the importance of communication between all stakeholders during bloom were discussed by panelists. Public perception of pollinator health was shown in a survey where comments included:”We have to have bees, we need them to get our food.” That comment plus headlines that shout, “Are your delicious, healthy almonds killing bees? ” are reasons for an increased focus on bee/almond bloom interactions. Bees, Lewis said, are one of the most important inputs in almond production- on par with harvest and irrigation. Consumers are also aware of pollinator health...

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Hull Rot and Ganoderma Root Rot in Almonds


Hull Rot is an infection in almonds caused by one of several pathogens. The infection not only causes quality and yield problems with the current crop, but it can impact the following season’s production. Current Research Current research findings, water and nitrogen management recommendations and chemical control options were reviewed by Mohammad Yaghmour, Kern County University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) advisor at the Almond Conference. In addition to Yaghmour’s hull rot research, current information on the wood decaying fungi Ganoderma that affects almond tree health was provided by University of California (UC) Davis researcher David Rizzo and Bob Johnson, a University of California plant pathology PhD student who has studied wood decay fungi in almonds and prunes. Hull Rot Hull rot is a hull infection caused by one of several pathogens. Affected nuts don’t shake off at harvest and can become navel orangeworm (NOW) feeding sites if they are...

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Whole Orchard Cover Crops


Cover crops and chips from orchard removal are proving to be opportunities to enhance orchard health rather than management challenges. Ame’lie Gaudin, assistant professor Agroecology in the Plant Science Department at University of California Davis, and Brent Holtz, University of California farm advisor in San Joaquin County presented updated research on cover crop use and orchard recycling at The Almond Conference. Almond grower Christine Gemperle shared her experiences with whole orchard recycling. Gaudin said that orchard floors and alleyways are underutilized and present opportunities for improving production and meeting sustainability targets. Post harvest and continuing through the dormant season is the optimal time for use of cover crops in orchards, Gaudin said. Cover crops in orchards can take many forms depending on orchard age and spacing, soil type, precipitation, and region. Grower objectives and experience along with equipment availability also must be considered. Gaudin noted that while many almond growers...

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What It Wants, When It Wants It: One Company’s Dedication to Precision Nutrition


Jeff Merritt thought he was going to be a doctor. Growing up in an agriculture family that grew peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots, Merritt’s grandfather had roughly 1,600 acres of stone fruit, with the farm having its own packing shed and sales agency. After two bad years, it was all but gone. Highly leveraged and then used to pay off debts, the family was able to keep about 100 acres around the home. Fresh out of high school, Merritt was told there was not much left for him to be a part of, and to pursue a career in something other than agriculture. So, off he went of Fresno Pacific University, where he studied biology and chemistry with the intention of heading to medical school after graduation. “But then I didn’t see the financial benefits of that until I was fifty years old or so,” says Merritt about medical school....

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