WCN0521 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Bumper Crops Push Walnut Market

Global walnut production and exports will set records during 2020-21, impacting the export-reliant U.S. market. U.S. production is at record levels, but will likely remain in check due to a lack of price incentives. U.S. exports will likely continue to grow in the next five marketing seasons, but the challenge of boosting domestic demand will continue. Hence, it will be necessary to maintain high-quality product, research, innovation and marketing to enable the U.S. walnut industry to continue surmounting both international competition in the walnut market and increased competition in the tree nut space overall.   Market Trends in a Nutshell...

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Oregon Hazelnut Varieties in a Nutshell

To the untrained eye, a hazelnut tree is a hazelnut tree; one orchard may look like thousands of its neighbors with the only difference being age. However, with nearly a dozen new varieties released in the last decade, hazelnut growers have an unprecedented number of viable options to consider as they expand or replant orchards. The genesis of these new cultivars in Oregon traces back to the obscure pollinizer cultivar Gasaway, which was discovered to possess resistance to the fungal disease eastern filbert blight (EFB) back in the late 1960s. It has been used in controlled crosses since then in...

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Demonstrating Biologically Integrated Orchard Systems in Walnuts

The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is working closely with UCCE and participating growers and PCAs to implement demonstration and research trials in walnuts as part of a new three-year IPM project titled “Promoting Biologically Integrated Orchard Systems (BIOS) in Walnuts in Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.” The BIOS project focuses on walnut production systems targeting three important pests: codling moth, navel orangeworm (NOW) and webspinning spider mites. The project has partnered with six farms (three in the Sacramento Valley, three in the San Joaquin Valley) to set up BIOS demonstration sites where alternative pest management practices, including mating...

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Up? Down? Trends in California Tree-Nut Property Values

Janie Gatzman and Mike Ming know better than most about the value of California farmland. Gatzman is not only a fourth-generation farmer who grows and processes almonds in the northern San Joaquin Valley, near Oakdale; she’s also owner of Gatzman Appraisal and a long-time accredited rural appraiser who specializes in valuing larger nut crop holdings as well as leaseholds all over the Central Valley. Further, Gatzman is a member of the California Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA). For the past eight years, she’s co-edited the group’s “Trends in Agricultural Land and Lease Values®”...

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Smoke, Not Heat, Biggest Wildfire Threat to Nut Crops

When the LNU Lightning Complex wildfire scorched the outside rows of some walnut orchards around Pleasants Valley Road last August, it marked the rare occurrence when a California nut crop suffered direct loss from a wildfire. Unlike in avocado orchards, where wildfire damage is common, California nut orchards generally escape direct damage from wildfires. It is the smoke, not the flames, that is the biggest issue in California nut crops. “The biggest impact of these wildfires is the smoke pollution and the impact that has on sunlight getting through to the crop,” said Katherine Jarvis-Shean, orchard systems advisor for Sacramento,...

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Pressure Rises on Popular Soil Fumigant

It has become a theme in California, where pesticides are under an unprecedented attack from every possible side. From Proposition 65 requirements; to possible new notification requirements and buffer zones; to an increase in the tax on all pesticides, this administration has made it abundantly clear they intend to change the landscape in California. And if they have it their way, the future will not include pesticides. Governor Newsom has even been quoted as describing the situation as a “harmful overuse of pesticides in this state”. Well, no chemical is feeling this pressure more than 1,3-Dichloropropene (1,3-D), more commonly known...

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Growers Insight: Jocelyn Anderson

Jocelyn Anderson has secured a spot for herself among the state’s young ag leaders. She is the first vice chair for the California Young Farmers and Ranchers, a director for the Glenn County Farm Bureau, a past participant in the Leadership Farm Bureau program and the 2021 American Farm Bureau Young farmers and Ranchers vice chair. She hopes to inspire other young farmers and ranchers to become leaders as well, a passion that started forming several years ago. “I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I started teaching swim lessons when I was about 13,” she said. “I was...

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Soil Sampling for Mature Tree Nut Orchards

Checking salinity levels in orchard soils or residual fertility at the end of the growing season are two of the main reasons for conducting soil analysis in a mature tree nut orchard. Tree nut orchards are ideally planted in deep, uniform loam soils that provide an optimal combination of permeability, water retention and root zone aeration. Expansion of tree nut production into areas with marginal soil quality makes soil sampling an important tool for assessing soil properties.   Sample Timing In tree nut orchards, soil sampling for salinity should be conducted after the final irrigation of the season. This sample...

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Trade Officials, ABC Work Closely to Maintain, Expand Markets

After harvest, almonds travel a long and twisted route before they meet their end consumer, who may be enjoying a candy bar in Switzerland, or baklava served at an Algerian wedding, or tea-flavored almond milk in Japan. Almonds travel to destinations in more than 100 countries around the world, and along their winding route, they encounter many hurdles and barriers: difficult inspection procedures, varied food safety regulations, excessive tariffs and bureaucratic red tape. “While most shipments make it to their customers overseas with no disruptions, some consignments get held up in foreign ports for a myriad of reasons,” said Geoffrey...

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Take Soil Analysis to a Deeper Level

The day after my 40th birthday, I realized my arms weren’t long enough to allow me to focus my eyesight for what I was reading. Unfortunately, readers are now an everyday part of my life even if I want to see the darn cell phone. As much as we as CCAs push the narrative created by a good soil test, it’s imperative that your advisor gives you the full picture. Put on your glasses and look closely. It’s easy to get fooled into thinking everything is okay with balanced numbers on the base saturation percentages (i.e., 68% calcium, 12% magnesium, 7%...

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Managing Burrowing Rodents in Walnut

Research updates for burrowing rodents provide walnut growers with a more effective set of strategies and tools for damage prevention. Burrowing rodents typically found in California walnut orchards include California ground squirrels, pocket gophers, voles, roof rats and deer mice. These rodents are found uniformly throughout the state, with most walnut orchards experiencing infestations of at least one species. Exclusion Exclusion strategies in rodent management are ways that growers can prevent rodent pests from physically entering a protected area through the use of fencing and other methods. Research conducted by Roger Baldwin, a UCCE wildlife specialist in the Department...

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Keeping Rodents and Bird Numbers in Check in Hazelnut Orchards

Since man first began growing his own food, animals have made it a habit to help themselves to his crops. Controlling rodent and bird pests in hazelnut orchards is a constant battle. Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy fix. Instead, it’s a long-term issue that requires constant vigilance to keep chewing, gnawing, nut-eating animal pest numbers in check.   Mice and Field Voles Rodents are one of the most destructive mammal pests to hazelnut trees. Small but mightily damaging, mice and field voles (sometimes called field mice) tunnel around the base of trees and gnaw at the bark of...

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Developing a Long-Term Plan for Your Orchard: Take it Five Years at a Time

A farmer is making a decades-long decision when developing an almond orchard. If fortunate, that decision will span a quarter century. Unfortunately, digesting a 25-year timeline is a tall task for even the most methodical minds. The only sane option is to break this life cycle into phases that allow for adaptable planning. In our case, let’s break it into nice and neat five-year spans. These are the five phases: Development, Recovery, Momentum, Equity and Endgame. While making these five-year plans, it’s important to remember that as time passes, so too will your orchard and your life. If you plan...

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California Pollinator Coalition Aims to Scale Up Pollinator Friendly Practices

A consortium of agriculture, conservation and industry groups have formed the California Pollinator Coalition aimed at bringing to scale research and cultural practices to preserve and protect honeybees and native pollinators. During a conference call announcing the launch of the coalition in early April, Laurie Davies Adams, president and CEO of Pollinator Partnership, said the goal of the new California Pollinator Coalition (CPC) is to bring current collaborations between agriculture, research and industry to scale in a way that encourages large-scale adoption of pollinator-friendly practices that increase biodiversity, integrated pest management and carbon sequestration in the soil. The Pollinator Partnership...

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Looking for Some Free Mowing?

Sight of a lush green cover crop growing between rows of walnut trees was a draw for Visalia area sheep producer Cole Bakke. Not spending money on mowing and spraying was the goal of Jon Dolieslager, a walnut grower and operator of Tulare County Stockyard in Dinuba. “We struck a deal that is a win-win for both of us. We eat his grass and Jon sells our sheep at his auction,” Bakke said in mid-March as he watched about 200 head of ewes and lambs graze a volunteer cover crop in the row middles. This mutual agreement between a walnut...

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Gaining Insights: Investigating Cal/OSHA Citation Data

As you begin to prepare for the upcoming season, be sure to spend some time ensuring your safety programs are meeting regulatory standards. An excellent way to tackle this best practice is to investigate agricultural citation trends from Cal/OSHA. Each year, Cal/OSHA releases enforcement trends for all industries, including agriculture. Pay special attention to their top 10 citations. This data provides an insight into the agency’s priorities and can help to focus your efforts. The data released from October 2019 to September 2020 revealed fewer citations and penalties for the agricultural industry than previous years. However, do not be misled...

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Pecan Industry Federal Marketing Order Targets Strategic Plan Goals

The American Pecan Council (APC) is the Federal Marketing Order (FMO) for the U.S. pecan industry representing all pecan stakeholders across 15 growing states from North Carolina to California with the oversight of USDA. Industry came together to create the FMO to address the want and need to engage in widespread marketing activities to grow consumer demand for American Pecans. The five critical areas an FMO focuses on are domestic and international promotion and marketing, research, grades and standards, compliance and data and statistics. APC cannot lobby, buy or sell product, set price or set tariffs. During the 2018-19 fiscal...

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In Search of Alternatives to Ag Burning in the Central Valley

California agriculture produces millions of tons of woody waste each year, most notably from orchard removals or pruning operations. With the recent decision by the California Air Resources Board to phase out open-field burning in the San Joaquin Valley, growers need to know if there will be economical options for woody waste disposal in the future. Roger Isom, president of Western Agriculture Processors Association, said flexibility and viable alternatives to agricultural burning are critical, particularly for smaller growers. The co-generation option for wood waste disposal has all but disappeared. While whole orchard recycling is a promising alternative, it may be...

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Getting Off the Ground

Almond Board of California (ABC) and collaborating researchers are taking a two-pronged approach to dust reduction that involves harvesting and complementary crop drying methods. As part of the effort, they’re taking a closer look at eliminating blowing and sweeping and possible alternatives for in-orchard drying and nut pick-up. Altogether, these steps account for about 90% of harvest dust, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Just by following best management practices, California almond growers over the past several years have reduced the amount of harvest-related PM10 dust particles to 31 pounds per acre from about 40 pounds...

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Passing the Baton to Golden Hills

When the UC pistachio breeding program released the new Golden Hills variety in 2005, it was thought by industry leaders that adoption of this new variety would be slow. The Kerman variety was well established and had been the dominant pistachio variety grown in California since the 1970s. Today, Golden Hills and Lost Hills, a sister variety of Golden Hills, comprise almost a quarter of the state’s 409,000 acres of pistachio orchards. Since 2012, nearly all new pistachio orchards have been planted with Golden Hills or Lost Hills. An early male pollinator, Randy, also released in 2005, is reported to...

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California Almonds Set to Enter Carbon Market

From all indications, by next year, some California almond growers will be getting paid for using cover crops, adding composts or conducting whole orchard recycling. The development is part of an expansion of private carbon markets into almond production that is being advanced by Ecosystems Services Market Consortium (ESMC) and the Almond Board of California (ABC). Debbie Reed, executive director of ESMC, said major U.S. food companies that use almonds in their food production have embraced the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint through purchasing carbon credits from almond growers. “In terms of interest as a specialty crop, this is...

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Is Navel Orangeworm a Candidate for Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management in California?

Under integrated pest management (IPM), crop fields are considered interconnected agroecosystems where long-term pest/damage prevention is best achieved through a combination of biological, mechanical, cultural and chemical controls (Stern et al. 1959). Area-wide control refers to a systematic approach to quarantine and eradicate pests, where total pest management over an entire geographic area is critical, since small fractions of an insect population left uncontrolled can promptly reverse the benefits of greatly suppressing the main pest population in a large area (Knipling 1960). The challenge to IPM practitioners is that while independent operators focus on individual fields or orchards, many agricultural...

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