Harvest Archives - West Coast Nut



Pistachio Growers Finding A Lot to Like in Golden Hills Cultivar

It isn’t so much the good yields, the high quality and good pack out that is drawing California pistachio growers to the cultivar Golden Hills. According to Zack Raven, farm manager of Keenan Farms in Kettleman City, Calif., the big draw for Golden Hills is its early harvest. “The number one reason why it is such a great variety is because it comes off significantly earlier than Kerman,” Raven said. The earlier harvest, typically 10 days before the industry standard Kerman, leads to reduced susceptibility to navel orangeworm and spreads out the harvest season, Raven said. “It works for both the processor and the grower,” he said. Released from the University of California breeding program in 2005, Golden Hills production has increased from about 3,000 acres in 2012 to approximately 65,000 acres today, making it by far the most successful variety to come along since Kerman was released in 1957....

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Does Late Winter Shaking Reduce Yield Potential in Almonds?

Last year I conducted a research trial in almonds to address a recurring question posed by many growers. Does late shaking of almonds for winter sanitation of mummy nuts reduce the yield potential due to the removal of many of the swelling buds? The 2018 replicated trial in two different orchards indicated it did not. This trial was repeated at two additional sites in 2019 to see if the results could be duplicated. Winter Shaking Winter shaking of overwintering mummy nuts is the single most important cultural activity an almond grower can do to reduce surviving populations of navel orangeworm (NOW). By eliminating these nuts, the larvae and pupae in them are destroyed. These nuts also would have served as a food source for the first and second generation of NOW during the upcoming growing season. While there are many reasons...

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Advanced Harvest Almonds

Alternative Harvesting Practices

Josette Lewis, the Almond Board of California’s (ABC) new Director of Agricultural Affairs predicted exploring alternative harvesting options will be a journey for almond growers as they make decisions and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of what would be a major change for the industry. The topic of advanced harvest is so intriguing that it is one of the opening topics at The Almond Conference 2019 in December. While other almond-producing countries have adopted some alternative harvest practices, including over the top harvest, in recent years, nearly all of the California crop, that makes up 80 percent of the world’s almond production, is harvested by first mechanically shaking, then windrowing the nuts and finally scooping them up with a pickup machine. New technology in harvest equipment and new harvest strategies have been successful in reducing the amount of dust generated during harvest operations,...

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Almond Variety Trial Continues

A new round of statewide almond variety trials were started in 2014. There are three trials, one in Chico, Salida and Chowchilla. Each trial used rootstocks that were common to the area. In Butte County, the trees are on the Krymsk® 86 rootstock. In Salida, Nemaguard rootstock was used because that area has problems with root knot nematode. In Chowchilla, Hansen peach/almond hybrid was used because it is more tolerant to drought and salinity. Almond Research Trial Joe Connell, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor emeritus in Butte County, helped establish the almond variety trial at California State University (CSU) farm in Chico, California. “The main purpose is to observe varieties in semi-commercial conditions that breeders thought, might have promise,” Connell said. This could also be identifying varieties that have a fatal flaw like problems with shaking, excessive disease problems, or poor yields. Consistently poor producers might be...

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Harvesting Strategies to Reduce Dust

A clear view to the very end of a row of trees, just a few rows away from operating harvest equipment, showed how seriously California’s almond growers are taking their industry’s efforts to reduce dust. Dust Reduction Goals Purchase of harvest equipment designed to generate less dust, harvest strategies to reduce dust and grower efforts to minimize dust in sensitive areas are all attempts by almond growers to meet 2025 dust reduction goals sought by Almond Board of California (ABC). The goal, set in 2018, is to reduce total harvest dust by 50 percent. Air quality, particularly during late summer, can be negatively impacted by dust generated during almond harvest. Sweepers and pick up machines operating in orchards can create significant amounts of dust and contribute to high levels of particulate matter in the air. To address this issue, Almond Board of California has funded research over the last ten...

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