WCN1019 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Walnut Pest Management: Navel Orangeworm and Codling Moth

There are a few pests that have reached what seems like celebrity status in the tree nut industry, with codling moth and navel orangeworm being household names for walnut growers. With research is continuing on how to best eliminate these pests, there are still methods and products that can help with the complications of infestation. Navel orangeworm and codling moth are featured here in this first part of a two-part series focusing on pests in walnut orchards. Navel Orangeworm Navel orangeworm has garnered a lot of attention, as growers and industry personnel continue to battle this pest. When mummy nuts...

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To Cover or Not to Cover

To cover, or not to cover. That is the question. The research keeps piling up on the benefits of cover crops in our orchards. Water infiltration, reduced runoff, organic matter, water holding capacity increases, weed control and increased carbon stores are some of the major immediate impacts. Much of those benefits have to be weighed against the cost and effort of maintaining a good cover. What will it bring to your operation and is it worth it? The answer should be a resounding yes. Healthy Soils Summit I recently attended the Healthy Soils Summit sponsored by Acres USA at University...

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Profile: Billings Ranch

Longevity and perseverance are rooted deep in the Billings family. When you drive past the intersection of Pond Road and Highway 43, you wouldn’t even know it was a town let alone home to the start of something great for the Billings family. Amidst the almond orchards and grape vineyards is a little road sign that reads “Billings Ave”. In 1913, the Billings family settled in Pond, California and that same property is still being farmed by the family today. Longevity rich in farming is now a main factor in developing the Billings new product. Matt Billings is the fourth...

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NGS Hazelnut Summer Tour 2019

Many of the 800 adults who attended the 2019 Nut Growers Society Annual Summer Tour hadn’t been on a school bus in years. But they crowded onto the long yellow busses and sat two to a seat for the hazelnut field trip. There was much joking amongst the growers about how much smaller the seats seemed since their school days. Busses departed two at a time, every 45 minutes on July 31, from the Linn County Fair and Expo Center in Albany, Oregon, heading a few miles north to Millersburg. Christy Cooke, president of the Nut Growers Society, was the...

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Cal/OSHA Enforcement Trends in Agriculture

Each year, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) releases enforcement trends for all industries and agriculture is no exception. From October 2017 through September 2018, the agency stayed busy tracking the occupational injuries and illnesses of our state’s farmworkers. For this most recent year of data available, the industries ten most common violations resulted in a total of 345 citations totaling $1,154,682 in fines. On average, agricultural employers paid $3,347 per citation to Cal/OSHA alone, never mind the added expense of appeal and subsequent increased employment costs, like workers’ compensation insurance. Note that the order is based on...

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Compost – Is It Right for My Operation?

Compost is defined by the University of California Solution Center for Nutrient Management as the product of controlled biological decomposition of organic material. The composting process involves sufficient heat generation to eliminate pathogens as well as stabilize the organic material to a stage where it can be applied to soil. The list of benefits to agricultural crops from compost applications includes increases in organic matter, microbial activity, micronutrients, cation exchange capacity, carbon sequestration and water holding capacity plus increased soil levels of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Soil borne disease, soil erosion and soil compaction may also be impacted by compost...

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Cover Cropping in Almonds Exploring Benefits and Tradeoffs

Almonds are a major part of California’s landscape, and consumers and policymakers are paying attention to how they’re grown. Many orchards are having issues related to soil degradation, such as lack of irrigation water infiltration and ineffective gypsum applications, and producers are increasingly out of solutions. Cover cropping, while not widely implemented in the state of California, has garnered the attention of an extensive team of expert researchers from a handful of universities in the University of California system, along with the University of California Cooperative Extension, and the Almond Board of California. Together, they tested a soil mix and...

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Is There a Need for Postharvest Nitrogen in Almonds

Is there a need for postharvest nitrogen application in almonds? This question has been has examined through research at the Nickels Soil Lab in Colusa County. Information garnered through studies by Franz Niederholzer, UCCE farm advisor Colusa and Sutter/Yuba counties and research coordinator at the Nickels Soil Lab, has shown late, postharvest application of N didn't increase yield the next year and maybe skipped – at least in the Sacramento Valley. That information and more was shared by Niederholzer during this year's annual Nickels Soil Lab Field Day. “Here at Nickels, several years back, we tried putting N on late,...

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Orchard Transition: Moving to Organic or Regenerative Farming

The organic movement has gone full steam ahead. As the fastest growing sector of the food market, this multibillion dollar industry went from slightly shunned to uber trendy, to a statement of health, environment, and bottom line. While there are several reasons that growers opt to make the shift from what we now know as conventional farming to organic, there are a lot of reasons that make growers hesitant to transition. Either way, there is a growing awareness of the broader effects conventional farming has on the population and the orchards, so the spectrum of change spans from less chemical...

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The Market Facilitation Program

The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) provides assistance to farmers and ranchers with commodities directly impacted by unjustified foreign retaliatory tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional export markets. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “Assistance is available for agricultural producers of non-specialty crops, dairy, hogs, and specialty crops.” Housed within specialty crops is funding for almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. On May 23, 2019 Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the USDA would again provide aid to assist farmers hurt by trade disturbances brought on by foreign retaliatory tariffs. This aid is being...

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Is Your Almond Orchard a Candidate for Water Recharge

Results of a three-year study of almond orchards used for groundwater recharge not only revealed few issues with tree health, it measured the amount of water added to the water table. Researchers looked at effects on tree health, as well as how much water was sent below the root zone. Groundwater recharge is one of the avenues available to the agriculture industry to reverse overdraft of groundwater in basins underlying the Central Valley. With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) aimed at balancing extraction with replenishment, interest in groundwater recharge ability has grown. Flooding Orchards Flooding almond orchards during the...

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Postharvest Pistachio To-do List

When the last truckload of pistachios rolls out of the orchard, it’s not the time to relax—it’s time to prepare for a successful harvest next year. Guidelines for postharvest pistachio management by University of California (UC) Davis researchers cover all postharvest activities necessary to ensure a quality crop for the next year. Pest control and crop advisors also have their own checklists that cover specific challenges and growing conditions in their individual orchards. Evaluate IPM Plan Since insect pests and diseases are often the cause of poor yields and quality in a nut crop, a postharvest evaluation of the current...

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Study Finds American Grown Pistachios Contain Melatonin

An analysis conducted by researchers Dr. Jack Losso and Millicent Yeboah-Awudzi at Louisiana State University in partnership with American Pistachio Growers found that American pistachios contain significant amounts of melatonin, much higher than most fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes and seeds. Melatonin Research in Pistachios Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland to regulate the body's internal biological clock and control daily sleep cycles. Melatonin supplements are commonly used by people with insomnia or with irregular sleep patterns which may arise from frequent travel or irregular work schedules, among other causes. The study was significant due to the fact it showed pistachios contain relatively high...

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Don’t Forget Winter Sanitation

First flight numbers of navel orangeworm (NOW) in the Sacramento Valley overall looked low to moderate in pheromone traps, but there are some exceptions to that, according to Emily Symmes, UC Cooperative Extension Area IPM advisor, Sacramento Valley. The more severe winter could have kept first flight numbers down, Symmes continued, but also there was a more prolonged spring flight due to relatively cooler temperatures and numerous rain events, which may have appeared as lower overall abundance in NOW traps during the early flights. “I don’t necessarily think this is a low pressure year from an overall perspective, especially now...

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Almond Industry Presses on Despite Challenges in China

While President Donald J. Trump was announcing a threat of 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese exports to the U.S., the Almond Board of California (ABC) was in China emphasizing the importance of trade, as well as the future of the California almond industry in China. This August, ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott, Vice President of Global Market Development Emily Fleischmann and Almond Board Chair Holly A. King attended the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce (CFNA) annual meeting in Zhengzhou, China, on behalf of the California almond industry. This meeting brings together around...

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Year-Round Health: Nutrition Management in the Orchard

Specialists rattle off chemistry terms, percentages, and solubility, and while it’s all extremely important information in regards to the health of your orchard, this knowledge becomes useless without the help of the most vital component: Water. Richard Kreps, CCA stressed water importance earlier this summer at the Mid Valley Nut Expo in Turlock, California, and it’s no secret that nutrition management comes down to the barest of basics for healthy trees and thriving orchards. But, are your trees drawing water from the depths they should be? What do you do as the season progresses? Ideally, your water is reaching down...

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Nitrogen Management Research for Almonds

Research on nitrogen (N) management in almonds over the past decade has revealed application practices that can be beneficial on a three-pronged approach –  benefits to the tree, to the grower's pocketbook and to the environment. This subject has been the topic of trials, studies and presentations by the industry's top authority, Patrick Brown, professor of Plant Nutrition in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of California (UC) Davis. Additional research has been conducted by Franz Niederholzer, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor, Colusa and Sutter/Yuba counties and research coordinator at the Nickels Soil Lab in Colusa County....

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