WCN1120 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Supplemental Pollination

Large-scale almond trials are looking at different forms of mechanical application to supplement bee pollination in almond orchards. Given the excellent natural pollination season during the first year of trials using drones or electrostatic sprayer to apply supplemental pollen, those trials produced no yield differences among treatments, according to preliminary results. But researchers and participants say those practices warrant further study to see how they improve yields in an off year. Jim F. Cook of Colusa County Farm Supply Research said he’d like to continue the work to see whether mechanical supplementation might improve yields during poor pollination conditions. “I’m...

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Nutrient Tie-Up and Overload

I have some food for thought. It actually has to do with food for trees…eventually. I’ve mentioned many times in my articles to make sure you are trying to balance your nutrition. That becomes abundantly harder when we overapply specific nutrients. I was trying to help my wife bake a loaf of banana nut bread and it wouldn’t rise. I’m a mad scientist in the kitchen as well as in the field. But in the kitchen, I try to emulate Emeril Lagasse. “A pinch of this, dash of that, splash of those and BAM! Kick it up a notch!” But...

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Updating Hazelnut Nutrition Guidelines for New Varieties

Guidelines for hazelnut nutrition are currently being updated at Oregon State University (OSU). The original nutritional guidelines were largely created for dryland Barcelona – an old classic variety that is now being phased out of orchards because of its high susceptibility to Eastern Filbert Blight (EFB). With all the newer hazelnut varieties introduced by OSU, new research is underway to determine the optimal levels of fertilizer for these trees. “We’ve been preparing for a revision of that document for a number of years now, because the information in the old hazelnut fertility guide is based on the old orchard system,”...

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Why You Should Choose a Certified Crop Advisor

Everyone wants to know how farmers make decisions. Public and private organizations with an interest in farming have distributed numerous surveys to the farming community to learn why farmers do what they do. The world relies on the western states for a steady supply of safe, high-quality agricultural products. It is understandable people outside of farming would want to know what farmers are up to. It is also not surprising they have to ask. A tiny fraction of the U.S. population is currently involved in farming and the number is shrinking. From developing policy to selling products, everyone wants a...

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Postharvest Steps for Hazelnuts

The humming of sweepers through the orchards across the Willamette Valley is slowing to a whisper. Hazelnut harvest has neared its end; estimated to be the largest in history, the 2020 harvest was defined by both challenges and opportunities, and in the minds of hazelnut farmers, marked the beginning of a new era. Their weeks, months and years of dedication are expected to yield upwards of 65,000 to 70,000 tons, a total that would shatter the previous record of 52,000 tons. Before too much celebrating can begin, more work has to be done to ensure 2021 is even more successful...

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Anthracnose Not Significant in Pistachios…Yet

The good news for pistachio growers when it comes to anthracnose is the widely grown variety Kerman doesn’t appear susceptible to the disease. The bad news is the increasingly popular varieties Golden Hills and Lost Hills apparently are. Still, with no anthracnose showing up in commercial orchards planted to the two varieties in recent years, chances are the disease may fade into obscurity before ever becoming a threat. Only one cultivar grown in California appears highly susceptible to the disease, Red Aleppo, according to researchers who are studying the disease, and only a handful of growers produce it. Common in...

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Information Resources to Make an Irrigation Plan for Next Year

As the 2020 fall harvest season ends and we turn toward the winter season, there is an opportunity to reflect upon the past irrigation season and prepare for 2021 by looking for irrigation management information. Good irrigation management involves understanding your irrigation system and utilizing available information to decide how much to irrigate and when. Many resources are available to inform your irrigation management and allow you to refine your 2021 irrigation plan.   Getting Irrigation Right We principally think of irrigation management affecting tree and crop development as spring/summer shoot growth, fruit and nut development, bud development for next...

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New Ag Employer Legislation for COVID-19

Prior to the end of the 2020 legislative year, Governor Newsom signed a flurry of new bills in an effort to provide additional COVID-19 safeguards. These new laws dictate the way in which businesses navigate COVID-19 protections for their employees. Two bills in particular, SB 1159 and AB 685, will have the biggest impact on California agricultural employers. These statutes have a number of elements which will require an investment of time and resources to develop policies and practices in an effort to be compliant. Senate Bill 1159, Workers’ Compensation Presumption, is essentially an extension of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order...

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Main Fungal Canker Diseases Affecting California Almonds

Fungal canker diseases have long been known to affect almond trees in California. However, they have become an increasing concern to growers in recent years as they are affecting young trees to a greater extent, eventually resulting in significant tree losses. Canker diseases can also become prevalent in mature orchards, impacting yield, lifespan of trees, production costs and overall profitability of almond orchards. Ultimately, trunk and scaffold canker diseases are a major cause of tree death and branch dieback in California almond orchards. Questions that farm advisors, almond growers and PCAs frequently receive are in relation to canker diseases, asking...

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Crown Gall a Vexing Issue for Walnut Growers

Crown gall can predispose a tree to future damage from pest and disease, reduce its longevity and lower yields throughout its life. And, according to USDA Agricultural Research Service plant pathologist Daniel Kluepfel, outside of labor-intensive, surgical control measures, once established, there are no remedies for it beyond direct replacement of the affected tree. Crown gall, according to Kluepfel and Tulare County UCCE Farm Advisor Elizabeth Fichtner, is a huge problem for California’s walnut producers. “It is a very big problem on seedling Paradox walnut rootstocks, which is the dominant rootstock in the southern San Joaquin Valley,” Fichtner said. “It...

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Consider Alternative Rootstocks for a More Profitable Almond Orchard

It may be true for many almond growers that your next orchard could live longer and be more productive while reducing input costs for fertilizers, soil amendments and nematicides. The secret is in choosing the correct rootstock to meet the physical, chemical and biological challenges inherent to your soil. If your roots are healthier, your orchard will require fewer corrective actions to maximize the performance of your trees. Some rootstocks are better at extracting nutrients from the soil or excluding salts like sodium or chloride. Even if you have no significant soil or disease issues, you might consider adding just...

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UCCE Advisor Profile: Surendra Dara

Surendra Dara, UC Cooperative Extension Advisor for Entomology and Biologicals, had a different plan for his career. But, as luck or fate would have it, there was a different adventure in store for him. Dara went from originally wanting to study medicine, to finding himself studying agricultural sciences, to zeroing in on entomology. But even his entomology studies led to something much grander than he could have anticipated. While Dara studied agricultural sciences at Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University in India, there was a heavy emphasis on insect and mite arthropod pests in the region. With their potential to significantly damage...

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FDA Announces New Key FSMA Rule to Advance Traceability of Foods

This past month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a new proposed regulation to bring about farm-to-table traceability in our food supply. This new proposed rule is beyond what is already required in existing regulations. The proposed new rule lays the foundation for the end-to-end food traceability across the food industry with the ability to track a food at every step of the supply chain. While limited to certain foods, this proposed rule would create a first-of-its-kind standardized approach to traceability recordkeeping. In the proposed rulemaking, the FDA released a draft Food Traceability List that identifies foods to which the additional...

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Postharvest is a Good Time to Knock Back Vertebrate Pests in Nut Orchards

Harvesting nut crops followed by good orchard sanitation will deprive rodents of a preferred food source and drive them to poison baits far more easily in the fall, said Roger Baldwin, UC Davis wildlife specialist.   Ground Squirrels California ground squirrels are the primary vertebrate pest in many tree nut orchards, and fall presents a good opportunity for population control. With their primary food sources, nuts and vegetation, removed, squirrels are more likely to eat toxic baits. Multiple-dose anticoagulants can be applied in bait stations or spot treatments near burrows or broadcast where squirrel activity is present. The UC Pest...

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Pistachio Theft at Setton Pistachio

As shocking as the theft of two tractor trailer loads of packaged pistachio nuts was, it was also frustrating to detectives in the Tulare County Ag Crimes Unit when the courts released the two suspects in the case. In August, detectives arrested a 23-year-old Fresno resident for theft of the packaged pistachio nuts that were destined for an East Coast grocery chain. Less than three weeks after the arrest, detectives in the Ag Crimes Unit served search warrants at two homes in Fresno County as well as a business. During the course of the investigation, they made a second arrest...

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2021 Almond Pollination Outlook: Economic Outlook and Other Considerations

The year 2020 has certainly been interesting on many accounts. It started off well for almond growers with near-perfect pollination weather in February, promising a large almond crop. Things changed quickly following almond bloom as the world shut down due to COVID-19. In this article, information is provided that will be useful as growers begin to settle their agreements for the 2021 almond pollination season.   Almond Industry Update Currently, almond prices are hovering around $1.50-$2.00/lb., depending on variety, which is roughly 30% below their five-year average of $2.90/lb. Due to the increasing demand for almond pollination services over the...

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Almond Prices Remain Under Pressure, But is There an Upside?

When Buttonwillow farm manager Greg Actis planted 200 acres of almonds in 2019, prices for the nut crop had been on a downward slope for four years. By the time he put the young trees in the black soil of the ranch he oversees, his almond prices had flattened to about $2.50 a pound, well below the $5 peak the industry saw briefly in 2015. Today, driving past that second-leaf orchard 25 miles west of Bakersfield, Actis has seen California almond prices continue to fall. Earlier this year, prices stood at about $1.40 a pound. That’s below the cost of...

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Pistachio Prices Expected to Remain Stable

Pistachio prices are expected to hold steady, even as California producers shake a record crop from their trees this year. The state’s pistachio crop will likely exceed 1 billion pounds for the first time, but favorable long-term demand should help support prices despite the global economic downturn amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to both Rabobank and American Pistachio Growers. “We expect average returns to the U.S. grower to remain relatively stable through 2025-26, but potential volatility is always looming, particularly during these unprecedented times,” said Rabobank authors David Magaña and Roland Fumasi in their July 2020 pistachio market outlook. They...

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Whole-Orchard Recycling in Almond

Whole-orchard recycling (WOR) involves grinding whole trees into wood chips, spreading the wood chips evenly on the soil surface and incorporating them into the soil before replanting. This approach is a potentially sustainable method of tree removal that could enhance both air and soil quality. Before air quality restrictions, orchard removal meant pushing trees into large piles and burning them. But when air quality regulations were implemented in 2002 under the Clean Air Act, removed orchards were ground up with a tub or horizontal grinder and the woody debris was hauled to a co-generation plant to generate electricity. However, since...

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