WCN0422 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Add Soluble Nutrition to Retain Nutrition

It’s April, and that means pistachios are on the move! Although we see the vegetation pushing and the clusters developing, we sometimes forget what is happening on a microscopic level. We are concerned with cell division. With too many criminals in our state here in the west, the government just lets them out of their cells instead of creating more. As farmers, we don’t have that option. Any nutrition that escapes costs us a ton in the long run, and we can’t chase them down later. So, what do we do? We add nutrition. But what kind? Soluble. Stop playing...

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Cover Crop Research and Resource Offer Important Considerations for the Practice

Researchers and growers at Davis Ranches recently wrapped up a three-year grant-funded trial in conjunction with UC Davis examining the positives and negatives of 31 available cover crops species. While the cover crops were grown in field rows instead of orchards, many of the principles and knowledge gained from the project are universal and applicable to orchard settings. The study provided valuable perspectives for the purpose of cover crops and their management, such as the fact that cover crops are not cash crops like the specialty crops they grow next to. They can help save money, but they don’t make...

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Competition Heats Up

Over the past decade, California walnut production has soared to record heights as new plantings begin bearing. But production and exports from a number of other countries, including China and Chile, have grown at an even faster rate, worrying some U.S. walnut handlers. To maintain export markets, they say, marketers should continue to promote the positive reputation of U.S. walnuts, the industry’s sustainability story and the nut’s healthful profile. “It’s about reliability, honoring contracts, settling complaints and concerns promptly, things on the customer service side,” said Bill Carriere, president and CEO of Carriere Family Farms in Glenn. “California has always...

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Investing in New Technology?

A well-thought-out plan for use of new technology and a clear understanding of your goals when adopting it can ensure a return on investment. Seth Hansen, independent PCA/CCA and owner of Reliant Crop Services in Fresno, said a grower should be guided by their valuation of their farming operation and a long- and short-term vision of what they intend to achieve. “We have all been to meetings and trade shows and seen the latest and greatest in technology, but first you have to figure out what you need,” Hansen said. “Will this new technology take you where you want to be?” A grower...

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Fresno State is Helping Train Tomorrow’s Leaders for the Nut Processing Industry

The classroom looks different for each generation. Our grandparents might remember a school filled with dirty chalkboards, hardback textbooks and mechanical pencil sharpeners bolted to the wall. On the other hand, Generation Z is familiar with smartboards, online courses and all things digital learning. There have been extraordinary changes when it comes to the learning experience. One of those changes has been the need for hands-on opportunities. At Fresno State, hands-on learning has taken on a new meaning for students interested in nut processing. For the past several years, university representatives along with industry leadership have been developing a course...

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Pistachio Industry Still Bullish Despite Looming Large Crops Ahead

While American pistachio growers continue to produce record crops, innovative marketing that capitalizes on the unique health benefits of consuming pistachios continues to boost demand for pistachios worldwide. As a result, attendees at this year’s Pistachio Industry Annual Conference heard significant optimism from speakers, exhibitors and American Pistachio Growers during the two-day event in Carlsbad, Calif. As 2021 produced a second record-breaking crop year in a row, industry leaders are starting to ask “what is an off year” for the alternate bearing crop, said APG present Richard Matoian. “For the next several years, we will have ever-increasing crops based on...

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The Reality of Ag Export Burdens for California Agriculture

Long before the invasion of Ukraine, the agricultural community of the U.S. had been bearing the burden of a broken supply chain. The consumer and many in the agricultural community know full well how long it’s taking to export and receive certain orders. For many, the tracking number for their package is traced to a dot floating in the Pacific. One of the most significant economic impacts on American farmers, small businesses, truckers and America’s economic standing globally is our export crisis. A recent survey of agricultural exporters by the national Ag Trade Coalition found that lost sales ranged from...

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Voluntary Quality Assurance Program

2022 is certainly moving full speed ahead with the dawn of Q2 upon us. U.S. agriculture is in a pivotal and transformative era, which is leading the food and agriculture supply chain to find new ways of building resilience to combat impacts on the food supply. Fundamental shifts that were already occurring in consumer markets accelerated with the onset of the pandemic. Developing a sustainability program that includes verifiable assurance standards has never been more critical for those involved in the agricultural industry. Producers are continuing to field an increasing number of questions from consumers and customers about how their...

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Hello Old Foe

With most insect pest control attention in tree nut orchards now directed at navel orangeworm, it is possible that a previous almond pest can come creeping back into orchards. That could become the case with peach twig borer (PTB), warned Emily Symmes, senior technical field manager for Suterra. “Statewide, peach twig borer is not the concern it once was. We don’t see many in mature nut trees now, but if it infests young orchards, this pest can negatively impact tree development,” Symmes said. The almond industry’s shift away from dormant insecticide spray applications, elimination or reduced ‘May’ sprays for NOW...

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Can Electricity Aid in the Fight Against Herbicide-Resistant Italian Ryegrass in Hazelnuts?

Hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) is an economically important tree nut crop with a world market value of over $2 billion. The vast majority of the 88,000 acres of U.S. hazelnuts are grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley due to ideal environmental conditions. Weed management is key to ensure high hazelnut yields by preventing weed competition, but also to maximize harvest efficiency as orchard floors must be kept weed- and debris-free to allow for efficient mechanized harvest. Troublesome weeds such as Italian ryegrass (Lolium perenne L. spp. multiflorum; Fig. 1) can thrive in hazelnut orchards. This annual winter weed (Poaceae) grows across the...

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COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave: What You Need to Know for 2022

In February, Governor Newsom signed into law SB 114, which reinstated 80 hours of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) for companies with 26 or more employees through September 30, 2022. This iteration of COVID-19 SPSL is not an exact replica of the 2021 SPSL, and employers need to ensure they have a procedure to implement it correctly. In this article, we will highlight the critical elements of the 2022 COVID-19 SPSL and identify potential pitfalls for agricultural employers. Calculating Employees One of the most frequently asked questions in the ag industry is how to determine if you meet the...

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Integrated Approach to Managing Aflatoxin in Pistachios

Research is showing that an areawide approach may be necessary for pistachio growers to optimize a biological control program for aflatoxin. Speaking at UC ANR Statewide Pistachio Day on Jan. 20, UC Davis Plant Pathologist Themis Michailides said the research is showing that where large blocks of pistachios and almonds are treated with the biological control agent Aspergillus Flavus 36 Prevail, the efficacy improves dramatically over cases where adjacent orchards are left untreated. Under existing practices, the biological control agent, which is an atoxigenic strain of Aspergillus, is displacing 50% to 70% of the toxigenic strain of Aspergillus when used...

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Andersen & Sons: Twenty Years in, the Sons Continue to Grow the Vertical Walnut Business

When Mike and Pat Andersen graduated from California State University, Chico (Mike with a degree in plant sciences in 2001 and Pat in ag business two years later), the brothers had developed a business plan for their fourth-generation walnut, prune and cattle ranch in Vina, Calif. However, the duo had no idea at the time that their humble beginnings would grow into one of the industry’s most successful nut growing, shelling, processing and marketing companies in the west. But the Andersen’s story starts much earlier than that. “Our great-grandfather bought the original acreage right here where we are today in...

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Maximizing Spider Mite Biocontrol in Almonds Starts with Monitoring

Spider mites are a perennial pest of almonds throughout California. They are present in all orchards, in all years and in all parts of the state. However, there are significant differences from year to year and from orchard to orchard in mite density. These differences are driven by ‘push’ factors that promote mites (e.g., hot dry weather, dust and plant stress) and ‘pull’ factors like natural enemies that help control them. Miticides are only needed in cases where the pushes outweigh the pulls. For several decades, we have measured the ‘push’ side of mite management through presence-absence treatment thresholds. These...

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Phytophthora Issues on the Rise in Pistachios

As more pistachios are planted on marginal ground researchers are noticing an increase in Phytophthora crown and root rot in California pistachios. Speaking at the UC ANR Statewide Pistachio Day on Jan. 20, UC Davis plant pathologist Florent Trouillas, who is based at the Kearney Ag Center, said he would guess between 20% to 25% of pistachio plantings are on marginal soils that favor Phytophthora because of their propensity to create standing water. “These are hardpan soils, high-saline soils, with poor water infiltration,” he said. Last year, Trouillas visited eight pistachio orchards with trees of varying ages and types, all...

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View from the Top: Q and A with Wonderful President Rob Yraceburu

It might be easy to think the Wonderful Company is somehow impervious to the pressures confronting California’s tree nut industry. It is, after all, the world’s largest grower and processor of pistachios and almonds. The company farms nearly 90,000 acres of tree nuts in the San Joaquin Valley and processes 700 million pounds of the two nut crops each year. On top of that, Wonderful also processes and markets the crops of 900 independent pistachio growers, whose orchards stretch from Kern County to north of Sacramento. These “grower partners” deliver their crops to Wonderful from acreage that’s separate from the...

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Almond Hull Prices are a Bright Spot for the Almond Industry

A shortage of fiber feedstuffs for dairy cow feed is driving higher prices for almond hulls. The primary market for this byproduct of the almond industry has long been the daily ration consumed by dairy cows. Hulls provide dietary fiber and digestible carbohydrates. As hay and other fiber sources have become scarcer, demand for hulls has increased. “Hullers and shellers are in an envious situation right now as the West is short on fiber,” Mike Kelley, president of Central California Almond Growers Association, said. Production of alfalfa hay, silage and straw has decreased in California due to drought and changes...

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Scouting for Ants—“The Silent Yield Robbers”

It is not too early in the growing season to begin planning ant control strategies for almond orchards. “Put it on your calendar, plan ahead,” advises Franz Niederholzer, UCCE farm advisor in Colusa, Yuba and Sutter counties. “Ants are silent yield robbers.” April to May is the start of ant scouting in San Joaquin Valley almond orchards. Warmer springs in the Sacramento Valley should have growers thinking about looking for ants in their orchards earlier than usual. If there is a history of ant damage in an orchard, growers and PCAs should be particularly alert for protein-feeding ants in almonds. There is...

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