WCN0821 Archives - West Coast Nut

-Advertisement-

Focus on Tree Performance

Although many trials have examined compost’s contribution to soil health, improving soil water-holding ability and enhancing soil microbes, few have looked at whether the amendments enhance crop production and a grower’s bottom line. “The reason I did [the trials] was in response to questions I’d get from growers asking, ‘Should I be doing this or should I be implementing this in my program?’” said Roger Duncan, UCCE farm advisor in Stanislaus County. “’And if so, how much compost should I be putting on?’ I really couldn’t give good answers. “I’d done some short-term trials in the past looking to see...

Read More

Cover Crops in Walnut Orchards

A steady rise in intentionally planted cover crops in walnut orchards has been noted by UCCE Advisor Emeritus Joe Grant, who now serves as production research director for the California Walnut Board. “There has been a steady increase each year of growers who start, intentionally, to have cover crops in their orchards.” Grant said. “There has been more promotion of this practice recently.” Just allowing a crop of winter weeds to germinate and grow in the orchard won’t provide equal benefits to a chosen and planted cover crop. Large weeds can become problematic by spreading into tree rows. Young walnut...

Read More

Biological Control of Navel Orangeworm in Tree Nut Orchards

University of California researchers have been evaluating the role of biological control of navel orangeworm (NOW) in California for nearly five decades. This includes efforts since the 1970s to document the impacts of native predators and parasitoids on NOW control, and to find new parasitoid species to import and introduce. In general, biological control for NOW has had a secondary role in IPM programs, with cultural and chemical controls, including mating disruption, taking the lead. However, as broad-spectrum insecticides become more and more obsolete within almond and walnut production systems, and as producers of all nut crops embrace reduced-risk technologies...

Read More

Career of Helping the Pistachio Industry Meet Challenges

In 1999, while looking at professional opportunities to follow his work as a plant pathologist at Washington State University, Bob Klein was drawn to a job posting for research director of the California Pistachio Commission. Today, after seventeen years as manager of the Administrative Committee for Pistachios (ACP) and 14 as manager of the California Pistachio Research Board, Klein still remembers his thoughts. “I looked at the job description and I said, ‘Well, I do that, I do that, I do that.’ So, I applied,” Klein said. “For me, it was an excellent career and family move.” From his work...

Read More

Water Budgeting and Management for Pistachio in a Drought Year: What are the Options?

Low precipitation over the last year in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys and long-term drought are forcing pistachio growers to make tough decisions for their irrigation management. While pistachios are known for their ability to withstand drought, enough water stress can still cause high percentages of blanks, low shell splitting percentages and reductions in overall yield. To mitigate these issues, UC experts recommend pistachio growers employ water budgeting strategies, monitor tree water stress levels and implement drought management techniques, such as proportional decreases in water application throughout the season or regulated deficit irrigation at different stages in crop development....

Read More

Walnuts, Navel Orangeworm and Ethephon for 2021

Navel orangeworm (NOW) continues to be problematic for California walnut growers. Jhalendra Rijal, UCCE area IPM advisor for Northern San Joaquin Valley, said NOW pressure varies among orchards, but with the drier winter and spring in 2021, as expected there has been increased activity with NOW in walnuts and almonds. “From a walnut perspective, if you think about navel orangeworm right now (June), the flight may or may not matter too much unless there are blighted or codling moth-damaged nuts in the orchard,” Rijal said, noting that the third and/or fourth flight is a greater concern for walnuts at husk...

Read More

High Moisture Content Delivers Lower Returns, Greater Damage

Dave Phippen has been growing and processing almonds for decades in the Central Valley, an experience that has given him a front-row seat to many of the challenges confronting the industry. And while water shortages, increasing regulations around pesticide use and other vexing issues often grab the headlines, one recurring problem, which is almost entirely within a grower’s control, is moisture management come harvest time. Delivering almond kernels with a moisture content greater than 6% to a huller/sheller or processor can create a cascading series of difficulties that affect not only the “wet” nuts but also the nuts around those...

Read More

Balancing Nutrient Needs after Whole Orchard Recycling

Scientists are finding that applying five ounces of nitrogen per almond tree for the first year after whole orchard recycling (WOR), or two ounces over commonly recommended rates for young trees, is sufficient to overcome the high carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratio that the practice creates in soil. Further, during West Coast Nut’s virtual Almond Day 2021 presentation on June 15, Mae Culumber, nut crops farm advisor for Fresno County, said researchers are recommending that growers spoon-feed the nitrogen in doses of no more than an ounce at a time and, when possible, sprinkle granular nitrogen around trees. The findings show that...

Read More

Top 10 Pesticide Violations of 2020

On an annual basis, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) releases their top 10 pesticide violations of 2020. This information is incredibly valuable in determining the agency’s priorities and where agricultural operations should direct their efforts. It is no surprise that the top 10 list over the years has not fluctuated by much as the industry continues to struggle with the pain points. With that being said, this is an excellent opportunity to assess if your business is meeting regulatory standards, and if not, take the time to fix the issues before CDPR comes knocking at your door.  ...

Read More

Solar on California Working Lands: Share Your Perspective!

A team of researchers at Stanford University is interviewing farmers and ranchers in the San Joaquin Valley about the opportunities and concerns surrounding solar energy production on their lands. While state and regional planning studies have mapped out where solar arrays should be developed based on transmission lines and avoiding prime farmland or wildlife habitat, little research has been done that captures the perspectives and priorities of California’s farmers, even though most solar energy is developed on privately owned farms and rangeland. To include the voices of farmers in the discussion, this Stanford research team would like to hear your...

Read More

Cal/OSHA Readopts Revisions to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be winding down and the state of California is opening up, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted on June 17, 2021 to readopt revisions to the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) on vaccination availability, removal of physical distancing requirements and guidance on face coverings to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH). These revisions take effect immediately by executive orders signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, which apply to most workers in California. This ETS process moved fast and furious...

Read More

Will Adequate Labor Arrive for This Year’s Harvest?

Operators of almond and pistachio processing plants are cautiously optimistic their labor force will be adequate in August to handle this year’s crops. Hullers and shellers as well as processors of value-added products rely on skilled workers to operate equipment and manage incoming loads. There are also numerous unskilled jobs that need to be filled to keep the plants operating at optimum efficiency. Even though most COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in June, the U.S. Department of Labor reported approximately two million people were still receiving unemployment benefits in California. The California Workforce Association reported in June that fewer job seekers...

Read More

Farm Equipment Shortages, Backlogs Put Pressure on Machinery Dealers and Growers

At Berchtold Equipment Company in Bakersfield, Calif., Michael Arriola is practicing patience like never before. “Typically, on a retail order, it would take a month for a new tractor to show up on our yard,” said Arriola, assistant general manager for the 100-year-old company that sells New Holland, Kubota, Bobcat and other equipment brands. “Now it’s taking four to six months. Inventory all over the country is way down.” Like other equipment dealers across the U.S., Arriola is seeing shortages of new farm machinery, including tractors, forklifts and harvesting equipment. Even parts and materials can be hard to find and...

Read More

Tree Nut Handlers Deal with High Energy Prices

California nut processors are facing soaring energy rates with no relief in sight. Costs for electricity to operate machinery and light buildings, natural gas or propane for drying nuts and fuel to operate vehicles are assuming a larger share of their operating expenses. Michael Boccadoro with the Ag Energy Consumers Association told Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) members and guests at the association’s annual meeting what many already knew: commercial and industrial energy rates are twice the national average and rising faster than the national inflation rate. He predicted the trend would continue. Between 2011 and 2017, Boccadoro said, electricity...

Read More

Western Ag Processors Association Meeting Highlights Top Issues for the Nut Handling Industry

The Western Agricultural Processors Association held its annual meeting in June, providing one of the first opportunities for nut industry leaders to gather in person for two days of networking, business, trading and learning. Held in partnership between West Coast Nut magazine and WAPA, the annual meeting in Monterey including two days of talks and business for some 300 handler/processor members and associated exhibitors. “It’s been great to see people in person again,” said WAPA President and CEO Roger Isom. “We had some new faces and some familiar faces. The ag industry is based on communication; whether it’s at the...

Read More

New Foes of Almonds at Hull Split Stage

In California, infection of almond by diseases starts at bloom time and continues with infections of the young green fruit and the fruit at the hull split stage. Wet conditions in late winter/spring favor infection of almond blossoms by brown rot fungi, such as brown rot (Monilinia fructicola), anthracnose (Colletotrichum acutatum) and gray mold (Botrytis cinerea). Also, bacterial diseases, such as bacterial blast (Pseudomonas syringae) and bacterial spot (Xanthomonas arboricola pav. pruni) can infect blossoms and leaves of almond. The young green fruit, if weather conditions are favorable, can be infected by pathogens such as Botrytis cinerea, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Collectorichum...

Read More

Making the Transition to Off-Ground Almond Harvest

When it comes to advancement of off-ground almond harvest, a multitude of advantages have been presented for the state’s 1.6 million acres of almonds in California. Dust reduction, improved product quality due to less insect damage, flexibility in irrigation scheduling, less orchard floor management and cleaner product delivered to processors are a some of the “pros” listed by proponents of off-ground almond harvest. But are the state’s almond growers, custom harvesters and equipment manufacturers ready for such a monumental change? “We’re marching toward it. We will see what the transitional period looks like,” said Turlock-area almond grower Brian Wahlbrink. Wahlbrink...

Read More

Postharvest Nutrition of Nut Crops: When and When Not to Fertilize

With harvest on the horizon, it’s important to keep in mind that some orchards will need a bit of extra care once the nuts are gone. Not all nut crops need postharvest nutrition, however. In this article, I discuss the four big nutrients (nitrogen, potassium, zinc and boron) in almonds, pistachios and walnuts, and whether you should be doing some post-harvest fertilization.   Potassium Potassium is the first nutrient that I think about in nut crop postharvest nutrient management. Heavy banding of potassium on the side of a tree row is a traditional way of supplying this nutrient to the...

Read More