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The Practical Wisdom of Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices


“Climate-smart agriculture.” While not common parlance under the tree canopy yet, many growers are increasingly adopting practices recognized as climate-smart because they make sense for improving soil quality or efficiency. Plus, there are more economic incentives to implement them today than ever before. So, what is climate-smart agriculture? Basically, it’s any management practice that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or keeps them out of the atmosphere, also known as sequestration. This includes practices that use water and nitrogen efficiently, improvements to energy efficiency, and using renewable fuel or contributing to biofuels with co-products. However, most of the excitement is around sequestering...

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Whole Orchard Recycling Can Increase Yields Over Time


Exciting new research shows that conducting Whole Orchard Recycling (WOR) in almonds can increase crop yields in subsequent orchards, provide long-term benefits to soil health, such as improved water retention and nutrient levels, and increase carbon sequestration. (more…)

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Putting Almond Waste to Good Use


Make electricity from almonds trees? Convert almond wood waste into a biopesticide? Those are intriguing business plans put forth by two new companies that aim to remove wood, shells and hulls from the waste stream and put them to beneficial use. Eric McAfee of Aemetis Inc., a renewable fuels and biochemical company, and Mike Woelk of Corigin Solutions LLC, an organic ag solutions company, laid out the science and the business plans for their technology endeavors at an Almond Industry Conference session in December. Their common goal is to divert wood waste and end open burning of orchard waste. Aemetis...

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Cal/OSHA Releases Revised Draft Nighttime Lighting Standard for Agriculture


In April of this year, Cal/OSHA (California Occupational Safety and Health) held a public hearing to consider specific requirements for lighting standards for working around agricultural equipment at night. The proposed new standard entitled “Outdoor Agricultural Operations During Hours of Darkness” was a result of a request by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) submitted to the Cal/OSHA Standards Board in 2013 claiming they had investigated a number of accidents occurring in agriculture during nighttime work activities, including serious injuries and one fatality. In reviewing the information, it was determined that these accidents occurred primarily in the early...

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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. (more…)

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