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Five Things to Do in Walnut Orchards in the Spring


New Year’s Eve was a couple months ago, but, as spring approaches, a new year is just beginning in walnut orchards. Depending on the walnut variety and growing area, buds will soon start pushing and roots will begin searching for nutrients and possibly water. With warmer weather, pests and disease will also start new life cycles. These natural occurrences are reminders that certain tasks need to be done in orchards in a timely manner to ensure tree health and productivity. Orchard sanitation, including blowing off berms and shredding orchard debris, starts the year off with a clean orchard. Preemergent herbicide...

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Cal/OSHA Enforcement Trends in Agriculture


As you begin to prepare for your upcoming season, it is an ideal time to implement a new best practice and review your company’s safety program. Safety issues are complex, and it can be a challenge to know where to focus extra time and attention. We highly recommend agricultural operations look at regulatory agency citation data to have a better understanding of their enforcement priorities and to review industry trends. This information will assist in providing a road map of where to focus your efforts as you begin to plan for the season. In this article we will investigate Cal/OSHA...

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Five Things That Worked for Pest Control in 2021 — and a Few Things That Didn’t


PCAs interviewed at the 2021 Crop Consultant Conference and in the field emphasized nutrition, sanitation, tracking degree days and mating disruption as their major tools to keep crop damage low in tree nut crops this year. No surprise that navel orangeworm (NOW) and mite control were their two biggest challenges throughout a hot and dry summer, but they all had strategies that worked as well as some that worked less effectively. What Worked Their five most successful strategies for pest control in 2021 were: Sticking with a Plan “We had a good pest control plan,” said David Vieira, PCA for...

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New Off-Ground Harvest Research Incorporates Precision Yield Monitoring for Improved Orchard Management


Off-ground harvest is continuing to advance as a viable method for harvesting almonds in California, and a new UC Davis research project is using precision agriculture technologies to further capitalize on its benefits. The project, which includes researchers with UC Davis and USDA-ARS, and in partnership with Erick Nielsen Enterprises, Inc., was envisioned by UC Davis Plant Sciences Professor Patrick Brown. It uses the off-ground harvester as a “method” to measure individual trees’ yields across an orchard, according to UC Davis Professional Researcher and project collaborator Sat Darshan S. Khalsa. The purpose of measuring individual trees instead of taking an...

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Bridging the Ag Tech Divide


Do you sometimes feel like we are living in two alternate realities when it comes to ag technology? Does it seem hard to reconcile your daily experiences with the advanced vision of farming portrayed in commercials and trade shows? On the tech-enabled farm, every employee is recording helpful observations on their smartphone for later analysis. Automated equipment is precisely applying biological pesticides, and irrigation schedules have been calculated and executed to perfectly match crop demand. Obviously, this results in ever-increasing yields and profitability. The reality you encounter each day out on the ranch, however, is much different. You step out...

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