WCN0820 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Some Basic Truths About NOW in Almonds

Successful control of navel orangeworm (NOW) depends on understanding the following truths:  The local population is always greater than you think it is.  Insecticide coverage is always worse than the applicator thinks it is.  Spraying will always take longer than you think that it should.  Little mistakes can have big consequences. Navel orangeworm management is currently based on a four-component “system”. Its elements are: 1. Sanitation 2. Mating Disruption 3. Insecticide Sprays and 4. Timely Harvest. Three of these elements have been in place for decades,...

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Soil Inoculants and a Healthy Orchard Ecosystem

Sustainability has become the new trigger point for consumers in the public’s rapidly expanding politically correct mindset. “I prefer to know the farmers that grew my pistachio/walnut truffle gelato and half-caf, decaf, almond mocha Frappuccino were sustainable in their efforts.” The ironic thing is, I haven’t met a farmer that has ever said, “Man, I am trying so hard to use up the last remaining piece of fertility this ground can give me before my kids take it over and spend their inheritance…” (more…)

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Tree Nut Theft is Back

The theft of complete loads of finished product tree nuts is back. Some four years ago, the tree nut industry suffered more than 40 cases of theft of loads of California tree nuts totaling several million dollars. After more than four years, this past month two loads of finished product almonds were stolen using the same methods. (more…)

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Preparing for Pistachio Harvest

For Brian Watte of Brian Watte Farms in Fresno, season-ending crop management in pistachios boils down to three keys: “Just keep the bugs off and keep the water going and get it dried up immediately before we shake,” Watte said. With their eyes on a billion-pound pistachio crop, California growers, a processor and an extension specialist, recently shared with West Coast Nut Magazine some keys to getting the most of this year’s bounty. Keeping the water running was one constant. “Unlike in almonds, with pistachios you can put on your water right up until the day you have to stop...

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UCCE Profile: Houston Wilson, IPM Specialist

Growing up in Austin, Texas, Houston Wilson thought all of California looked like Los Angeles. After leaving Texas to pursue undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, he quickly took a much broader view of the state and the world. “I thought college would be a good opportunity to see a different part of the country,” said Wilson. “The University of California is a well-known public institution, and I was really interested in going to California.” Now a UCCE Orchard/Vineyard IPM Specialist in the Dept. of Entomology, UC Riverside, and based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier,...

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Canker Disease in Almond Orchards

Knowing which pathogen is likely causing trunk and scaffold cankers in almond trees, or which pathogen is the most prevalent invader in an orchard, is critical for the adoption of the most effective control solutions. Florent Trouillas, UCCE specialist at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, said trunk and scaffold canker disease in almond orchards can be found statewide and is the most common call he receives from pest control advisors and farm advisors. (more…)

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Starrh Farms Has a History of Leadership and Innovation

When the Ford dealership in Shafter, Calif., closed years back, Larry Starrh joked to his Dad Fred Sr., “Maybe we should buy it and turn it into a coffee shop?” When his dad agreed, the response took Larry by surprise. However, the Starrh family is no stranger to trying new things, being innovative with their resources and giving back to their community. Now, the old Ford dealership is home to Tin Cup Coffee and the Ford Theatre. The Starrh family partnered with a local coffee company to establish a hometown favorite and a community gathering place. The Ford Theatre is...

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Heat Illness Prevention During the Pandemic

As summer continues, growers must continue to navigate the ongoing challenges of hot weather, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring worker safety. Keeping agricultural employees safe in the heat has long been a high priority for our industry. In 2019, as was the case the previous year, the most frequently issued citation by Cal/OSHA to agricultural operations was failure to comply with the heat illness prevention standard. While we have made great strides at improving our operations to mitigate against this risk, we now face the added complication of balancing the issues posed by the heat and the steps we need...

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Weed Control in Young Orchards

Planning and persistence with weed control is one way to ensure a healthier start for young nut trees. Lack of an effective weed control program early in the life of an orchard robs young trees of water, nutrients and light, affecting their growth and yield potential in the future. When weeds are not controlled, large seed banks can build in the soil and a grower will be playing catch up for years to bring down weed pressure. Large weeds uncontrolled in a young orchard can affect herbicide spray efficacy and hold leaf litter in place, shielding emerging weeds from herbicide...

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4Rs of Nitrogen Management in Walnuts

“Are growers applying too much nitrogen to their crops?” This is a question Parry Klassen, director of the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition, looks to answer when discussing nitrogen, nitrates, groundwater quality and growing walnuts in a webinar hosted by West Coast Nut in July. (more…)

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Franquette: A Classic Walnut in Search of a Home

Nestled around Mount Konocti and Cobb Mountain in Lake County, Calif., at an elevation of 1,300 to 2,500 feet, are acres of a walnut variety that once dominated the region. The Franquette walnut made its appearance in Northern California in the late 1800s, and found favor among growers because it had a well-sealed shell, a flavorful and very good quality, light kernel, and as one of the last varieties to flower, it was less susceptible to spring frost. (more…)

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The Evolution of Orchard Pesticides

Some memories from the early days of my career as a California licensed PCA stand out among the rest. The first was feeling overwhelmed by the incredible number of crop protection products I needed to learn in the fruit and nut crops for which I was responsible. I doubted whether I could ever remember all the branded and generic products available. The second was feeling relieved that I would not have to use many of the potent, broad-spectrum chemicals of the past. As growers and PCA veterans recounted their pest management "war-stories", many highlighted the dangers of those products that were no longer registered. As...

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New Technologies Provide Integrated Solutions for Navel Orangeworm

Almond, walnut and pistachio growers, depending on the growing region, list NOW (Amyelois transitella) as one of the most destructive insect pests in their orchards. Navel orangeworm feeding on developing nuts not only damages the kernels and lowers their value, it also can allow development of aflatoxin, a mold byproduct that contaminates the nuts and limits export opportunities. (more…)

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Cutting to the Chase in Pistachio Pruning

Researchers are finding that newer training systems for young pistachios may offer benefits over conventionally pruned trees, particularly for newer varieties that may not be as well adapted to conventional systems as Kerman pistachio. Time will tell if advantages showing up in the first few years of research into alternative training systems for pistachios bear up over time. But to date, unpruned pistachio trees and those pruned using a modified central-leader training system are performing better than conventionally pruned trees, according to UCCE Integrated Orchard Management Specialist Bruce Lampinen.

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The Art of Ethephon

Successfully using the plant growth regulator (PGR), ethephon, to potentially hasten walnut harvest or improve nut removal and hullability has been described as part art and part science. To obtain the desired results, growers first need to determine if walnut kernels are mature and receptive to the PGR by accurately sampling the orchard. Then they must factor in other variables, such as variety, tree stress levels, weather conditions, harvest equipment availability and whether the huller/drier they deliver to is ready to receive their nuts, said Bob Beede, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor emeritus for Kings County.

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Choosing Amendments for Effective Salinity Management

Pistachio trees stand out among tree nut crops as tolerant of salty growing conditions, but they have their limits, and production may eventually be affected if steps are not taken to relieve stress that happens with salt accumulation. Pistachio orchards have been planted from the Sacramento Valley to Kern County as well as some desert locations. Estimates are that about 25 percent of pistachio acreage is salt-affected. Most of those orchards are in the southwestern San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Many areas have naturally high salt levels, as the soils are derived from sediment from the coastal range that was once...

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Codling Moth Wreak Havoc on Early Walnut Crop

“Think about what you may have left on the orchard floor,” former UCCE integrated pest management advisor Emily Symmes said about the extraordinarily large first flight of codling moth experienced by growers this year in many California walnut orchards. Symmes, who is now a technical field manager with Suterra, said in June that the large first flight of codling moth (CM) caused high numbers of dropped nuts and even with well-timed sprays, crop damage is already being observed. (more…)

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Just Like Humans, Almond Trees Need Carbs to Thrive

Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for people. They allow our brains to think and our muscles to move. Composed of three key elements – carbon, hydrogen and oxygen – carbohydrates are an integral part of human physiology. What some may not often consider is that plants need carbohydrates too, including almond trees, which use carbs to build structures like leaves, trunks, stems, seeds, roots and nuts – nearly everything! The importance of carbohydrates to almond, pistachio and walnut trees is the focus of research conducted by Anna Davidson, Ph.D., and Maciej Zwieniecki, Ph.D., of the Department of Plant...

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