WCN0220 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Foliar Nutrition

The debate over the efficacy of foliar nutrition and its benefit continues to cause some controversy. The goal should be to help our growers achieve optimal yields. Often, just recommending a nutrient because we read about it somewhere, won’t produce the desired result if we aren’t using the right formulation. I still have clients that don’t buy into foliar nutrition as they believe much of it doesn’t work. That argument of whether chemistry is taken in through the leaves is usually put to an end when I ask them a simple question; “If that were the case, you could spray...

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Safety During the Winter Months

The winter months for permanent crop growers requires important maintenance and care in the orchards and vineyards. Pruning and thinning are commonplace, as are easily avoidable injuries. Before sending crews out to tend to this important work, remember to provide refresher training on ladder and hand-tool safety, along with the importance of using proper personal protective equipment, especially eye-protection. Ladder Safety Ladders are an integral part of upkeep in an orchard or vineyard and are easy to overlook when it comes to safe use and maintenance. The California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 3276 specifically addresses the proper and...

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Enforcement of Safety Programs

Do you have an “effective” safety program for your farm, huller or processor? Are you sure? You may have a complete written program, plenty of training records and documentation, but do you enforce your safety programs? Have you ever written an employee up for violation of one of your safety policies or programs? Many times we find employers have great programs but do not enforce these programs. They have great track records of having all the necessary programs, conducting all of the necessary training and being accident free. Up until that one accident where an employee does something he knows...

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What’s New in Pollination

Ensuring pollinator health is an important part of the almond industry’s future. Josette Lewis, Almond Board of California’s director of Agricultural Affairs, drove home that point in a panel discussion on innovations in pollination at The Almond Conference. Almond productivity starts with healthy bees and bee health impacts consumer perception of the sustainability of almond production. New ways to improve bee health and the importance of communication between all stakeholders during bloom were discussed by panelists. Public perception of pollinator health was shown in a survey where comments included:”We have to have bees, we need them to get our food.”...

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Hull Rot and Ganoderma Root Rot in Almonds

Hull Rot is an infection in almonds caused by one of several pathogens. The infection not only causes quality and yield problems with the current crop, but it can impact the following season’s production. Current Research Current research findings, water and nitrogen management recommendations and chemical control options were reviewed by Mohammad Yaghmour, Kern County University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) advisor at the Almond Conference. In addition to Yaghmour’s hull rot research, current information on the wood decaying fungi Ganoderma that affects almond tree health was provided by University of California (UC) Davis researcher David Rizzo and Bob Johnson,...

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Organic Walnuts

Quality organically grown walnuts are not produced with neglect but with careful planning and management. Rachel Elkins, UCCE pomology advisor for Lake and Mendocino Counties, where a large percentage of California’s organically grown walnuts are produced, said “growers need to farm their trees”, understand the need for long term planning for successful organic walnut production and to communicate with their certifier. Costs for inputs in organic walnut production, Elkins added, may be higher than in conventional production, but the market has been stable, allowing production to continue. Planting the Chandler variety has been another positive aspect of the organic market...

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Whole Orchard Cover Crops

Cover crops and chips from orchard removal are proving to be opportunities to enhance orchard health rather than management challenges. Ame’lie Gaudin, assistant professor Agroecology in the Plant Science Department at University of California Davis, and Brent Holtz, University of California farm advisor in San Joaquin County presented updated research on cover crop use and orchard recycling at The Almond Conference. Almond grower Christine Gemperle shared her experiences with whole orchard recycling. Gaudin said that orchard floors and alleyways are underutilized and present opportunities for improving production and meeting sustainability targets. Post harvest and continuing through the dormant season is...

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Clearing the Water on the Biological Opinions

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the federal rules known as biological opinions that are intended to protect threatened and endangered species in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a biological opinion, “…is a document that states the opinion of the service whether or not a federal action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.” We are nearing the end of 10 years of implementation of the biological opinions that were adopted in 2008 and 2009 and aimed...

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The Future of Off-Ground Harvest

The journey toward off-ground almond harvest has begun. A panel of growers, industry leaders and researchers led a discussion of this momentous move at the 2019 Almond Conference. Reducing Dust One of the main drivers of this journey is the reduction of dust at harvest. “The 2025 goal of reducing dust by 50 percent can’t be reached without off-ground harvest,” Patrick Brown, University of California (UC) Davis plant sciences researcher, told the audience. Most California harvest equipment manufacturers are participating in the journey toward off-ground harvest, collaborating with researchers and participating in field trials, session moderator Brian Wahlbrink of Sperry...

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Choosing, Planting and Pruning Hazelnut Pollinizers

A hazelnut tree cannot self-pollinate. It needs a pollinizer in order to set nuts. After you’ve decided on your main variety of production hazelnut, it’s time to choose your pollinizers. Since not all hazelnut varieties cross pollinate, compatibility is essential. Things to consider when choosing pollinizers are the timing of pollen release, and the compatibility between varieties. Timing: If you’ve chosen a late-blooming variety as your production trees, such as Jefferson, you’ll want to plant late-season pollinizers. If you’ve chosen an early-blooming variety, such as Yamhill, it goes without saying that you’ll need to plant early-season pollinizers. “Every year the...

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Farm Advisor Spotlight: Luke Milliron

When Luke Milliron enrolled in a class about world food and hunger at Butte Community College, he didn’t know it would change his life. It was during this course that he realized that pursuing food and agriculture was the best way he could see himself helping the world. Then, while as an undergraduate student at California State University, Chico, Milliron studied abroad in New Zealand for a year. While taking classes in agriculture and horticulture, he found that a significant amount of his resources and citations were from the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and the University of California’s...

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What It Wants, When It Wants It: One Company’s Dedication to Precision Nutrition

Jeff Merritt thought he was going to be a doctor. Growing up in an agriculture family that grew peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots, Merritt’s grandfather had roughly 1,600 acres of stone fruit, with the farm having its own packing shed and sales agency. After two bad years, it was all but gone. Highly leveraged and then used to pay off debts, the family was able to keep about 100 acres around the home. Fresh out of high school, Merritt was told there was not much left for him to be a part of, and to pursue a career in something...

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Farm Advisor Spotlight: Franz Niederholzer

Sometimes our professional paths are shown to us at an early age, as was the case with Franz Niederholzer, orchard systems farm advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) in Colusa County. “But ‘farm advisor’ is just fine,” says Niederholzer. When Niederholzer was fresh out of high school, his father purchased a prune orchard in the Orland area. Niederholzer realized that he enjoyed and appreciated producing something useful and decided on a career in agriculture. Niederholzer’s family became members of Sunsweet, the large prune co-op, and it was there...

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How to Maximize Almond Yields

Almond Yields Maximizing almond yield potential in both the long and short term requires understanding pomological concepts. Research updates presented at The Almond Conference provided growers with those concepts—keys for a successful relationship with their trees with the goal of achieving high sustainable yields. Intercepting the maximum amount of light by the maximum number of trees per acre will determine yield potential, said Roger Duncan, University of California (UC) Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) advisor in San Joaquin County. The reality of production, he pointed out, is that many orchards have a range of soil variability, missing trees and other...

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Planning Your Preemergent Plan for 2020

It's that time of year when we're planning preemergence (PRE), aka residual, herbicide programs for orchards,” says Brad Hanson, University of California (UC) Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. “Typically these are the herbicides that are applied in the fall, winter, or early spring before weeds emerge.” Hanson presented the topic of Weed Control for Orchard Crops during Tehama County's inaugural Tehama Growers Meeting/Continued Education Hours Workshop in November at the Tehama District Fairgrounds. Hanson talked about weed control in general, however, his emphasis was on PRE control. He discussed research conducted in Hanson's...

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