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A New Approach to IPM


There is a new approach to integrated pest management said Dr. Surendra K. Dara, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) entomology and biological advisor and speaker at the inaugural Crop Consultant Conference. The Journal of Integrated Pest Management published Dara’s work on The New IPM Paradigm for the Modern Age earlier this year. In his paper, Dara writes that the concept of IPM is not new and has historically been based on ecological and economic aspects of pest management. The new model, Dara said, is expanded to include management, business, and sustainability while emphasizing the importance of research and public outreach. The new IPM model is economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable. Balanced Ecology with Economics Dara said that traditionally, IPM has balanced ecology with economics. The shift places more emphasis on ecology. Pest management decisions have to make economic sense, he said, but now there are more factors...

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Temperature Controlled Bee Storage


Avoiding losses due to varroa mites, lack of adequate fall forage and high overwintering feeding/labor costs are all reasons California beekeepers have for considering storing their colonies indoors during the winter.   Temperature-controlled In temperature-controlled storage, bees are less active and go into a hibernation mode. This extends the life of the bees and causes a break in reproduction as the queen does not lay eggs. Bees normally live 40-50 days, but inside, their life span can be extended to 150 days, as they are not burning themselves out feeding their young. The break in reproduction can also break the life cycle of the parasitic varroa mite, one of the leading causes of hive mortality. Last year in Kern County, one of the first large scale storage facilities housed about 40,000 bee colonies over the winter. The controlled atmosphere building was an alternative to field storage and supplemental feeding over...

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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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Whole Orchard Recycling, a Grower’s Perspective


Christine Gemperle farms 135 acres of almonds in Stanislaus and Merced counties with her brother Erich. In November 2018, the pair pulled out 20 acres of old trees and decided to try Whole Orchard Recycling (WOR) for the first time on that same 20-acre block. Christine lives on the land that underwent WOR and had a front row seat to the whole process. WOR involves grinding trees into small chips then spreading that material across the field and disking it about six inches into the soil. For many growers uncertain of what to do with their old trees, WOR provides a sustainable solution with multiple benefits for soil health as well as yield increases for the new orchard planted on the same ground. “What amazed me is looking at these massive mountains of chips when they shredded the orchard,” said Christine, who is active on the Almond Board of California’s...

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Night Work in Agriculture Standard Imminent


For nearly half a decade, Cal/OSHA (California Division of Occupational Safety and Health) has been considering the creation of a regulation that specifically addresses the unique hazards found while working at night in agriculture. After many starts and stops, sufficient traction was reached in 2018 to meaningfully move the process forward and now the industry faces only a few bureaucratic hurdles before the long-discussed standard is reality. It is critical that anyone engaging in activities between sunset and sunrise understand the various steps to take to ensure compliance. Lighting Fundamentally, the risks to be addressed by the new standard are the hazards inherent in the workplace when natural light, provided by the sun, is no longer available. Poor visibility that could result in physical harm or the unsafe execution of duties, as well as potential vehicular and worker traffic collisions, create the greatest pause for concern. As a result, it...

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