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Almonds



New Outlooks for Hull and Shell Management Options Using Biosolarization


Managing Almond Hulls and Shells
Almonds are American’s favorite tree nuts by far1, but what many consumers do not realize is that the kernel we eat is only 27 percent of the nut. The majority of the almond nut—the hull and shell—is a byproduct. It is estimated that 1.6 billion pounds of shells and 4.5 billion pounds of hulls are co-produced with kernels annually, a number that is only expected to increase as more almond trees are planted in California2. Despite being inedible, hulls and shells are resources in their own right. The hull—similar to the flesh of other stone fruit like peaches and cherries—is rich in sugars and is used in dairy cattle feed, and the fibrous woody shell is used as animal bedding. Despite this, novel management options are needed as almond production outpaces demand for feed and bedding. Confronted with this problem, University of California (UC) Davis...

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Thermal Imagery—a Tool for Assessing Water Status in Almond Trees


To meet increasing demand for reduced water consumption, California almond growers know efficiency in irrigation practices must improve. One of the improvement avenues identified by research is a more precise method of assessing tree stress. As a three-year study of thermal imagery continues, researchers aim to develop a method that will use inexpensive thermal imagery to evaluate tree water needs and help growers with management decisions. Research Work funded by the Almond Board of California (ABC) and lead by Brian Bailey of the University of California (UC) Davis Plant Sciences Department showed that using a forward-looking infrared radar device (FLIR) on an iPhone or Android can deliver adequate image resolution and spectral range providing the first step toward a goal of developing a quick and inexpensive tool to evaluate tree water needs in order to guide irrigation decisions. Their objectives in this research were to develop a model for evapotranspiration...

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Profile: Billings Ranch


Longevity and perseverance are rooted deep in the Billings family. When you drive past the intersection of Pond Road and Highway 43, you wouldn’t even know it was a town let alone home to the start of something great for the Billings family. Amidst the almond orchards and grape vineyards is a little road sign that reads “Billings Ave”. In 1913, the Billings family settled in Pond, California and that same property is still being farmed by the family today. Longevity rich in farming is now a main factor in developing the Billings new product. Matt Billings is the fourth generation of Billings Ranches. When you walk into their farm office, you immediately sense the longevity and history associated with their family business. The building was originally a bank the family owned and operated through the great depression. Matt’s office sits directly above the old bank vault. It is a...

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Cover Cropping in Almonds Exploring Benefits and Tradeoffs


Almonds are a major part of California’s landscape, and consumers and policymakers are paying attention to how they’re grown. Many orchards are having issues related to soil degradation, such as lack of irrigation water infiltration and ineffective gypsum applications, and producers are increasingly out of solutions. Cover cropping, while not widely implemented in the state of California, has garnered the attention of an extensive team of expert researchers from a handful of universities in the University of California system, along with the University of California Cooperative Extension, and the Almond Board of California. Together, they tested a soil mix and a pollinator mix across various soils and climates in the Central Valley with the goal of improving the overall efficiency of orchard resources. While the interest is increasing amongst growers, it has yet to really spark a demand. “Cover cropping adds complexity to the operation,” says Amélie Gaudin, assistant professor...

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Is There a Need for Postharvest Nitrogen in Almonds


Is there a need for postharvest nitrogen application in almonds? This question has been has examined through research at the Nickels Soil Lab in Colusa County. Information garnered through studies by Franz Niederholzer, UCCE farm advisor Colusa and Sutter/Yuba counties and research coordinator at the Nickels Soil Lab, has shown late, postharvest application of N didn't increase yield the next year and maybe skipped – at least in the Sacramento Valley. That information and more was shared by Niederholzer during this year's annual Nickels Soil Lab Field Day. “Here at Nickels, several years back, we tried putting N on late, in October following a heavy crop year,” he said. “The trees we put the nitrogen on kept their leaves. The trees we did not put the nitrogen on lost their leaves weeks earlier than the trees that received the nitrogen. I thought then, wow, this late season nitrogen could be...

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