WCN0221 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Don’t Cut Corners with Bot

With the price of walnuts in the doldrums, growers may be tempted to forego in-season pruning and fungicide sprays to control Botryosphaeria canker and blight to save on input costs. Josh Cartwright, a PCA with Bear River Supply Inc. in Rio Oso, faced just those challenges among some of his clients the past season. In fact, some didn’t even believe Bot was an issue. “It’s hard to convince some growers of this. You have to take them out and show them to get them to see it for themselves,” Cartwright said. But he and others familiar with the fungal disease...

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Spring Season Pest Monitoring Activities in Almond Orchards

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is all about utilizing pest monitoring and scouting information to make informed pest management decisions. Monitoring for insects and mites is a crucial part of the almond IPM. Although pest monitoring is a season-long process, springtime is the most critical time to strategize the monitoring tasks that last the entire season.   Pest Monitoring Basics Navel orangeworm (NOW), codling moth and other insects’ trap counts are often tied with the degree-day models to make meaningful pest management decisions. Insect trapping provides a basis to determine the biofix date at which the degree-day calculation starts. In...

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Lessons from Harvest and Almond Rejects

Historically, when a grower reviewed their almond grade sheet, it was assumed that the column citing “percent rejects” was largely insect damage, namely navel orangeworm (NOW) or Peach Twig Borer with occasional ant damage. While this is still generally true, there has been a shift in many areas to where most of the damage is related to other causes. In some cases, 100% of the damage may be things other than worm damage.   Sanitation is Dwindling In spite of all the Almond Board funded research documenting the benefits of winter mummy nut sanitation as the first line of defense...

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Preserve Beneficials in the Orchard

When we kill off the natural enemies of a pest, we inherit their work.” This quote, from Dr. Carl Huffaker of UC Berkeley in a 1976 New York Times article, is echoed by UCCE farm advisors and others who work in pest management. Preserving natural enemies, or beneficial insects in an orchard, can help reduce crop damage, save growers on pesticide application costs and is an integral part of an integrated pest management program, said Jhalendra Rijal, UCCE area IPM advisor for the northern San Joaquin Valley. “If beneficials are reliable, activity can be monitored and treatments can be based...

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Pros and Cons of Growing Chestnuts

Chestnut trees once filled the forests in the Eastern U.S. In the fall, people looked forward to collecting the nuts that littered the forest floor. They roasted the chestnuts or used them to stuff their holiday turkeys. At the turn of the 20th century, the chestnut blight hit. No one is positive who imported the original blighted tree or seed from Japan, but the lethal fungal disease was first discovered in 1904 in New York City. By that time, nurserymen had shipped Asian chestnut trees all over the states. Within 50 years, the blight had forever altered the Eastern U.S....

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American Pecans Certified with American Heart Association’s “Heart-Check Mark”

February is American Heart Month, which supports the priority of heart health and research and encourages healthier lifestyles in American consumers. In this article, we’ll share information on the American Heart Association (AHA), its Heart-Check mark, and how you can utilize the symbol.   Heart-Check Mark Certification The AHA’s Heart-Check Mark Certification program began in 1995, and since then, the Heart-Check mark has become an iconic symbol. Designed for easy and widespread recognition on packaging, the check mark helps buyers identify heart-healthy food options when making purchase decisions. The Heart-Check mark assures consumers that the certified foods meet the...

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Integrated Pest Management on a Budget

An integrated pest management program includes both preventative and corrective actions to keep insect pests from causing crop damage in tree nut orchards. When economic realities come up against an IPM strategy, costs and value have to be weighed. Drew Wolter, senior specialist in pest management at Almond Board of California, said the guiding principles of IPM look to uphold the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic. By nature, he said, economic viability is at the head of any sound IPM program, with prevention being the key step. Practices that do not just pay for themselves, but also...

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Adding Value in Hulling and Shelling

Dealing with the increasing volume of almond production co-products and maximizing their value will play an important role in the economic stability of the almond industry. A 2020 Almond Conference session highlighted challenges in dealing with almond hulls and shells as almond acreage increases across all growing regions in California. The edible kernels represent only a third of the biomass produced annually in the state’s almond orchards. Along with the kernels comes 4.3 billion pounds of hulls, 1.7 billion pounds of shell and two billion pounds of woody biomass. “Our goal is to explore new ways to use all the...

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Ka-Bloom! Be Proactive Toward Soil Health At Almond Bloom

Although 2020 probably couldn’t end soon enough for most people, we are done. 2021 is easing its way in here in the west with a slow, dry arrival. The east side of the Central Valley of California from Visalia north has actually had some fog this year and accumulated decent chill. The South Valley has had a lot of its chill negated by sunshine and a warm, dry winter through December. A recent trip to Arizona revealed a very dry southwest all the way into New Mexico and West Texas. Pecans were being picked up and pistachios were finishing up...

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Gill’s Mealybug in Pistachio

Infestations of Gill’s mealybug (GMB) in pistachio orchards cause sticky nut clusters, shell staining and reduced kernel weights. This pistachio pest feeds on plant juices, reducing the amount of carbohydrates available for nut development. The accompanying honeydew produced by GMB feeding leads to black sooty mold on leaves, reducing photosynthesis. UCCE specialist Kent Daane said advisors have been hearing from pistachio growers about increasing rates of infestation. GMB, Ferrisia gilli, was first found in Tulare County pistachio orchards in 2000, and infestations were being controlled early in the growing season with an insecticide application, such as an insect growth regulator,...

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Pesticide Use During Almond Bloom

While use of pesticides is often necessary to protect almonds during bloom, growers need to be aware of their specific usage strategies, including how, when and what pesticide applications are made to protect bees during bloom. Following pesticide labels, using products with shorter residual toxicity and applying at the right dates and times will help keep bees safe through bloom. In an Almond Board of California (ABC) Training Tuesday presentation, Josette Lewis, ABC’s chief scientific officer, said that almond pollination currently represents over 15% of the annual cost of growing almonds. To reduce annual pollination costs in the future, growers...

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The Almond Board of California: Mark Your Calendar for NEW Training Tuesdays

This year, the Almond Board of California (ABC) is providing a new opportunity for growers, PCAs and CCAs to gain timely operational insights that support in-orchard practices and help them meet seasonal challenges head on: introducing, Training Tuesdays. During these virtual trainings, ABC staff and industry experts will present the latest on industry-funded research, new programs available to assist growers, tools within the California Almond Sustainability Program and more. Attendees will walk away from each training with tangible, practical tips they can try in the orchard, use to improve a current practice, or run past their local farm advisor for...

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Considerations for Replanting an Almond Orchard

Given the complexity of soils, differences in rootstocks and the economics involved, almond growers have plenty to think about when deciding to replant an orchard. Then, there are the soilborne replant problems. In a recent interview with West Coast Nut, USDA-Agricultural Research Service Plant Pathologist Greg Browne, who is based in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis, said he likes to break soilborne replant problems into abiotic and biotic components. On the abiotic side, Browne said that physical and chemical (physicochemical) properties of a soil can make or break the foundation for successful orchard replacement, particularly given that...

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UCCE Farm Advisor Profile: Douglas Amaral

Douglas Amaral joined UCCE in October as a new Pomology and Water/Soils Area Advisor in Kings and Tulare counties. Amaral, who earned his Master’s degree in Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility from the Federal University of Lavras, Brazil and a dual Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Delaware and Federal University of Lavras, brings an array of soil and water expertise to the table. “I grew up in a farm environment. My grandpa, dad, uncles and cousins were all farmers,” Amaral said. “I was not only interested in growing crops and making profit out of it,...

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Employment Regulations to Know for 2021

It is that time of the year when many new employment law regulations took effect when the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1. In addition to the list of policies and programs you launched last year, including your COVID-19 Prevention Plan, I want to ensure you pay close attention to these regulations and get them integrated into your operation. California Wage Increase In 2016, Governor Brown signed legislation that would gradually increase minimum wage rates in California, with the intent that by 2023 all California employees would earn at least $15 per hour. Jan. 1, 2021 marks...

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Pistachio Reach Zooms Around the World

American Pistachio Growers (APG) didn’t just discover Zoom in 2020. The California-based trade association took the video conferencing app and turned it into a tour de force of U.S. pistachio marketing. “The results were pretty incredible,” said Judy Hirigoyen, APG’s vice president of global marketing. “Zoom has provided a new way to reach an awful lot of people.” A year ago, Hirigoyen didn’t know what Zoom was. But like businesses everywhere, APG was forced to re-think its promotional efforts when pandemic restrictions halted travel and in-person meetings last year. The APG team knew it was essential to maintain consumer demand...

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Ag Tech in a Pandemic

2020 was the year that changed everything. Our typical focus on bloom conditions, crop set, and spring meetings was replaced with learning COVID-19 symptoms, tracking the virus’ spread and statewide lockdowns. The worst pandemic in a century hammered our country and economy and changed nearly every routine to which we were accustomed. School drop-offs were replaced with web logins. Morning coffee still happened, but only on the tailgate in the parking lot. And millions of people learned how to order their groceries and takeout from a smartphone. Interestingly, technology has been at the center of nearly every personal and business...

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2020 Legislative Wrap-Up

In the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation in California was somewhat subdued, at least by usual California standards. COVID-19 definitely had an impact on legislation and how legislation was handled, as the legislative session was dramatically shortened and most outside people were banned from actually being in the Capitol. This made for incredibly challenging circumstances for those that have to fight legislation and are usually in Capitol offices on a daily basis. But that works both ways, and in the end, maybe that is what kept what could have been a bad year from being overly bad for industry,...

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