WCN0122 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Hazelnut Propagation: A Closer Look at Growing Hazelnuts from Cuttings

There are several different methods for propagating hazelnuts. Two of the methods growers can try is with cuttings or by layering. There are also different techniques within each method. Before propagating hazelnuts, it’s important to note that most of the new varieties of hazelnuts that come from the Oregon State University (OSU) breeding program are protected by plant patents. These varieties cannot be legally propagated for commercial use without a license, whether the plants are intended for use by the grower themselves or for sale to other hazelnut growers. Contact OSU for more information about licensing. With that said, the...

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Keep the Pressure on Navel Orangeworm with IPM and Mating Disruption

The 2022 growing season will likely continue to present uncertainties around supply chain, availability of critical crop inputs like fertilizers, costs of materials and access to labor, among others. One unfortunate certainty that California nut crop growers have come to expect is the potential for navel orangeworm (NOW) to cause economic damage in almonds, pistachios and walnuts. For the past several decades, NOW has been a primary insect pest in these crops. Despite the perennial threat of NOW, the outlook for this pest is increasingly encouraging. Advances in research and technology, coupled with historically proven practices, have equipped growers and...

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The Almond Conference Highlights Opportunities and Challenges for Industry

The California almond industry confronted the challenges facing the industry at this year’s Almond Conference while also offering up a number of solutions to help the industry move forward. While some of the industry’s challenges are external—water, crushing supply chain disruptions, increases in input costs—others are self-imposed, namely a precarious imbalance in supply and demand. Several sessions at this year’s first in-person conference in two years focused on efforts to build demand, through novel approaches to domestic marketing and building and expanding on important export markets. In addition, a well-attended session on breaking the export log jam focused on the...

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Pecan Growth During the 2020-21 Year and Projections for 2021-22

Every year, the American Pecan Council (APC) as the Federal Marketing Order (FMO) for the U.S. pecan industry creates a marketing policy statement that includes recaps and projections for the upcoming fiscal year. Each year, these marketing policy statements are approved during the August council meeting in preparation for the pecan industry’s new fiscal year beginning October 1. In this article, we will dive into some key data and analytics of the U.S. pecan industry gathered this past year and visit the current projections for the 2021-22 crop year. Low Consumption with More Supply Coming When the pecan industry came...

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Boosting the Elements

As crop advisors and farmers, we are constantly trying to find the magic tricks to growing crops and maximizing yields. We discuss the timing of nutrient and crop protection applications. We hold open forums at coffee shops before the crack of dawn on how to properly irrigate at a specific time of the year and for a specific reason. And we aspire to get to a metaphysical level of understanding of how to make 17 nutrients work in perfect Zen harmony to create the perfect crop, for less. On occasion, someone strikes the gong and we are brought back from...

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Winter Chilling of Pistachio

The pistachio industry has thrived in the southern San Joaquin Valley (SSJV) of California due to the unique climate that historically contributes adequately to the accumulation of heat units in the summer to promote crop development and chill units in the winter to break dormancy for production of the successive crop. Climate Anomalies Climate anomalies are not uncommon, with the recent 2021 summer characterized by excessive heat throughout California’s main pistachio-growing regions (Figure 1a, see page 27). The abnormally hot summer, characterized by over 40 days with high temperatures at or above 100 degrees F in the SSJV (Figure 1b,...

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Interview with Don Barton, President of GoldRiver Orchards

Don Barton’s family has weathered plenty of challenges since it began growing walnuts in California in 1912. But the threats facing California agriculture today may the toughest yet. Barton grew up on the family ranch in Escalon, about mid-way between Sacramento and Merced. He graduated from Stanford University and later earned an MBA in agribusiness at Santa Clara University. Rather than return to the family business, he pursued a food marketing career, working for major companies like Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. and The H.J. Heinz Corporation. In 2003, he left the East Coast to take on a new responsibility: launching...

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Batting Clean-Up

The Roomba, a robotic floor sweeper, has been a hot Christmas gift for the past few years for consumers wanting to have hands-free cleaning. Almond growers may soon get their own robotic clean-up machine with the introduction of InsightTRAC’s Rover autonomous mummy nut remover. The brain child of Anna Haldewang, InsightTRAC founder and CEO, the Rover uses mounted cameras to “see” mummies. It then knocks them from trees by firing biodegradable pellets powered by air blasts. The machine is designed to eliminate polling crews and possibly winter shaking, depending on the number of unharvested nuts left on trees. And unlike...

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To Treat or Not to Treat: Scale Pests in Walnuts

Depressed walnut prices and higher input costs have put a premium on pest management decisions and increased the importance of dormant monitoring for scale pests in walnuts. UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines advise growers and crop consultants to monitor scaffolds, limbs, branches and prunings in the dormant period for San Jose scale, Italian pear scale and, most prominently, for walnut scale and frosted scale. At high populations, walnut and frosted scales can reduce yields and quality and create issues with other plant pests, particularly Botryosphaeria.   [caption id="attachment_12237" align="aligncenter" width="487"] Dead walnut scale adult...

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Nitrogen Research Aims to Maximize Pistachio Yields, Reduce Losses

In his first year as a UCCE soils and pomology advisor in Tulare County, Doug Amaral is deep into research on a timely issue in pistachio production. Given the importance of nitrogen in pistachio production, the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Plan to prevent leaching of this nutrient into groundwater, and the possibility of shortages and higher prices for nitrogen fertilizer, Amaral’s California Pistachio Research Board funded study can help growers best determine exact nutrient needs in their orchards. Amaral’s three-year study that began in 2021, “Assessing Nitrogen Uptake to Develop Best Management Practices and Early Leaf Sampling Protocols for Pistachio Varieties...

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Mite Pressure Up in Walnuts

PCAs and growers reported high mite pressure in walnuts last year, particularly in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys, according to UCCE Farm Advisors Franz Niederholzer and Luke Milliron as well as Area IPM Advisor Jhalendra Rijal. “Usually, in walnuts, you have some mite activity,” said Rijal, an advisor for the northern San Joaquin Valley. “But usually, it is late in the season. This past year, they started in the early part of the season.” Mite presence late in the season generally is not problematic, Rijal said, given that by then, predatory mite populations have built up and the...

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Soil Health: Deriving Benefits from the Ground Up

The concept of “healthy soil” has become increasingly popular over the last decade as researchers, government agencies, organizations like the Almond Board, and farmers continue learning more about the essential role soil plays in crop productivity, air and water quality, climate regulation and human health. Benefits of Healthy Soils Soils are complex and living ecosystems capable of supporting a wide range of functions through the activities of soil organisms (Figure 1). Among other benefits, a well-functioning soil ecosystem can: Promote the retention and availability of crop nutrients, Build soil structure to reduce topsoil loss, Alleviate compaction, Improve infiltration and...

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Sensing Technology Advances to Improve Irrigation Management

Tree nut growers seeking the ‘holy grail’ of plant water sensing have many options these days, but there is no one perfect sensor that will tell you when to irrigate, UC Davis Plant Scientist Ken Shackel said. Shackel led a panel of speakers on irrigation technology and automated monitoring at the 2021 Tree Nut Conference held in Tulare. Speakers included UC Davis Irrigation Specialist Isaya Kisekka and Ryan Kaplan of Pressure Bomb Express. Sensor Research Shackel, who is researching the physiology of plant responses to water availability, said the current sensors available are direct, meaning they show the current stress...

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The Future of Groundwater Management

Most experts agree that using satellites to monitor groundwater is the future for California agriculture. Satellite measurements are accurate enough to determine water usage of a given crop, which has led Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to look at this as a way to monitor groundwater. Satellite monitoring of crop water use for groundwater management is the wave of the future, according to Joel Kimmelshue, Ph.D., principal agricultural scientist for Land IQ, and it is a method that the regulatory agencies are using. Tracking of evapotranspiration (ET) through infrared technology for mapping has been around for quite some time, but satellites...

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Cal/OSHA’s Nighttime Lighting Requirements For Ag Are Final; Are You in Compliance?

Are you operating at night around the huller or on the farm? In June 2020, the Standards Board for the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) adopted new lighting workplace standards for protecting agricultural workers who harvest, operate vehicles and perform other jobs between sunset and sunrise. The new regulation requires agricultural employers to evaluate areas of outdoor worksites to determine if the present lighting levels are within the specifications established by the standard. The goal in establishing this requirement is to implement protective measures that improve visibility of workers by operators of farm equipment and vehicles, and ensure...

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Weed Control in Nut Orchards

Identifying the weeds in an orchard is one of the first strategies in attacking the problem. This is advice given by one of the top weed researchers in the field of plant sciences, UCCE Weed Science Specialist Brad Hanson, during a presentation at the Tehama County Agriculture Producer’s Day. Hanson said an integrated approach that starts with proper identification is the best approach. “I think it’s important to understand the weed problem you’re trying to manage, consider what management option you have, and seek integrated approaches to weed management using chemical, cultural, biological/cultural and physical manipulations of the cropping system,”...

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