WCN0322 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Hazelnut Propagation: Part Two

Using tie-off layering (with hog rings) to propagate hazelnut trees is a popular method among hazelnut nurserymen. Tie-off layering and the stool-bed method can be done using young trees in the orchard rows or in a separate nursery plot. Both propagation methods require less specialized equipment and controlled growing conditions than propagating from cuttings or grafting techniques. Pruning Nursery Trees to Sucker In late winter, hazelnut grower Telly Wirth of Tangent, Ore. pruned his nursery trees back hard, lopping off all the branches to about a 36-inch-tall trunk. He then rubbed off all the “pre-buds” along the trunk with his...

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The State of the State of Water in California

With Governor Newsom’s State of the State speech likely to occur around the time this article is published, we’d like to examine one item that serves as a building block for all the issues the Governor will address: water. While unexpected storms in late 2021 brought some welcome relief to our parched state, the water cupboard was so bare, most reservoirs remain below their historic averages. The water we do have must move throughout the state by way of a complicated system of reservoirs, dams, canals, pipes and treatment plants. That movement is managed by an equally complicated network of...

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Daniel and Sarah Hrdy: Walnut Growers Embrace Research and Philanthropy

Owners of Citrona Farms LLC in Winters, Calif., Dan and Sarah Hrdy have been growing walnuts for almost 35 years. During this time, their operation has grown alongside the rest of the walnut industry and has been the subject of a series of University of California research projects focused on sustainable agriculture, habitat restoration and wildlife conservation. They have also established a research fund that will enable early stage UC Cooperative Extension projects to obtain seed money. However, growing walnuts isn’t the only thing the Hrdys have kept themselves busy with. Sarah, who grew up in Houston, Texas, is a...

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Nut Growers Society Annual Meeting

For the first time in two years, Oregon hazelnut growers had the privilege of gathering for the largest event on the industry calendar: the annual Winter Meeting. After an all-virtual meeting in 2021, farmers were joyful to be back in-person for the 107th edition of the event. An estimated 600 growers, guests, speakers, sponsors and vendors gathered to celebrate all things hazelnuts and learn about the year ahead for the industry. A new venue, Spirit Mountain, was chosen to host the event to give attendees a new experience. [caption id="attachment_13015" align="aligncenter" width="1669"] The...

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View from the Top: Q and A with Monte Vista Farming CEO Jonathan Hoff

Two years into the supply chain crisis, Jonathan Hoff is tired of being nice. “We need somebody who’s going to pound their fist on the table, tell the Federal Maritime Commission to get this done, and get it done now,” he says. Hoff is CEO of Monte Vista Farming Company, an almond growing, processing and exporting business based in the small town of Denair in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Since the pandemic exploded in 2020, extensive shipping delays and cancellations have created a logistics nightmare and cut sharply into Monte Vista’s export business. Moreover, Hoff believes returns to almond growers...

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With Boron, Planning Ahead Key to Avoiding Issues

When it comes to boron in almonds, planning ahead appears to be the best strategy, both to avoid deficiencies and avoid problems associated with excess boron. In both cases, the downside can be significant. Too much boron, which occurs in some areas with poor quality groundwater and is becoming more common as the industry stretches north into some boron-rich areas, can cause ongoing issues with sticktights, dead tissue and sugary wounds at branching points that can provide entry points for fungal diseases. Too little boron, by far the most significant issue with boron in almonds, can significantly lower yields. To...

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Air Curtain Burners: One Realistic Solution for Nut Biomass

As biomass plants continue to close and air pollution control districts move to completely phase out ag burning, the tree nut industry is faced with a major crisis: What do we do with all this biomass? From sticks at the almond huller that have been removed from the incoming field-run almonds, to the annual prunings, and the once-in-a-blue-moon orchard removal, there is a distinct need to dispose of this biomass. For years, biomass plants solved our problem by taking hundreds of thousands of tons of biomass per year and turning it into electricity. But it is a costly process and...

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High Input Costs on a Tight Budget

California almond growers saw a record crop in 2020 of 3.12 billion meat pounds. By comparison, 2021 almond production was about 20% lower at 2.80 billion meat pounds based on 1.33 million bearing acres. Franz Niederholzer, UCCE farm advisor for Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties, is concerned about weather and economic conditions for the 2022 crop. There is a combination of things that are impacting almond growers, Niederholzer said, besides a reduced price, that include water availability, supply chain issues increasing input costs and heavy crops in previous years. “This year is going to be a real test,” he said....

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Field Fixes for Golden Hills Pistachio

The Golden Hills pistachio variety has confirmed its strengths: more upright growth pattern, less pruning after maturity and early harvest. Since being released by the UC breeding program in 2005, growers have recognized these attributes and have planted more than 120,000 acres of Golden Hills pistachio trees in California. UCCE Farm Advisor Craig Kallsen, in a presentation for the virtual Statewide Pistachio Day, noted the positives about this pistachio variety, but he also acknowledged crop production differences compared to the standard Kerman and some ‘fixes’ Golden Hills trees may need. Some of these weaknesses were apparent in early field trials,...

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Practical Nutrient Management in the Wake of Skyrocketing Input Prices

Fertilizer prices are awful, water is expensive if you can get it and prices are down. The perfect storm is hitting us farmers. When you need a raincoat (if it would rain again), a lecture on weather does you no good to help immediately. So, let’s get a little more practical with this article than theoretical. If our yields aren’t at the top of the chart, fertilizer is only expensive if it doesn’t work. Trying to save $100 per acre on inputs won’t “make” you as much money as increasing yield by 300 pounds an acre. So often we focus...

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The Persistence of Pistillate Flower Abscission

Pistillate flower abscission (PFA), a production problem largely relegated to walnut varieties that make up only a small percentage of California walnut acreage, continues to pose risks for producers growing the varieties Serr and Tulare. Certain environmental conditions favor the problem and there are some cultural steps growers can take to minimize the effects of PFA. Effectively treating for PFA generally involves deciding to spend hundreds of dollars per acre on a plant growth regulator, a decision made more difficult with low walnut prices. The California walnut industry first encountered PFA after the release of the variety Serr in 1968....

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Insights and Issues with Ag Technologies

Automation and control of irrigation can be achieved with new technology, Pat Biddy of Vanguard reported at the 2021 Almond Conference. Many growers have incorporated at least some form of these tools that can help them increase irrigation efficiency and help them with labor savings, irrigation at off-peak, and accuracy in nutrient applications. Biddy was one of several panelists at the conference’s precision agriculture technology session who shared insights on advantages for growers and the agriculture industry adopting new technologies. He also noted some of the issues with precision technology that result in inaccurate information. Poor calibration, improper maintenance, and...

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How Marketing is Growing the Base of California Walnut Lovers

California Walnuts recently launched a new digital advertising plan to capture and expand growing walnut consumption. The digital advertising program is part of the “Do More with Walnuts” campaign, which inspires consumers to discover new ways to use walnuts. Using walnuts in new ways can drive additional walnut purchases. Today’s consumer is savvier and demands marketing content that precisely fits their lifestyle interests. Therefore, in crop year 2021-22, California Walnuts evolved its approach to reaching consumers. Instead of targeting a specific age group or gender, California Walnuts is reaching audiences based on lifestyle choices. California Walnuts has always worked hard...

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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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Death by a Thousand Cankers

The walnut twig beetle and the thousand cankers disease it vectors don’t appear to be the devastating pests of English walnuts they were thought when first found in commercial orchards. But the pest complex should still garner respect from producers because of its potential to reduce production and kill trees under the worst case. “It seems it hasn’t been that big a deal for most growers,” said Rick Bostock, a distinguished professor emeritus in the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology. “But growers have been affected by it, there’s no question.” Since the pest complex was first found affecting commercial...

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The Use of Mummy Sprays to Augment Sanitation in Almonds

[caption id="attachment_13070" align="aligncenter" width="1364"] Protracted adult NOW emergence creates some confusion about proper mummy spray timing.[/caption] In this article, I explore the use of insecticides and their proper timing to augment sanitation in almonds to improve control of navel orangeworm (NOW). Before proceeding, I would like to alert you to an amazing piece of technology that can impact insecticide performance. This technology is often overlooked and/or taken for granted, yet millions of dollars and countless man-hours were spent on its development. This technology is called the product label. Carefully read the label. In...

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Marketing Milestones: American Pecans’ Successes

The year 2017 was a monumental one for the American pecan industry. Uniting to support the passage of a Federal Marketing Order, we commenced our first large-scale domestic marketing effort. Our collective endeavor to increase domestic demand has produced impressive results; in fact, our integrated marketing efforts, begun with Weber Shandwick less than five years ago, have resulted in more than three billion American Consumer Views & Touchpoints (impressions) to date. The American Pecan Council has also engaged U.S. consumers and influential stakeholders through additional partners and domestic marketing and advertising efforts. Most recently, the Federal Marketing Order (FMO) has...

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