WCN1119 Archives - West Coast Nut

-Advertisement-

California Legislative Wrap-Up for 2019

Well this legislative year is in the books…almost. In what could have been a disastrous year from a business perspective, things weren’t nearly as bad as they could have been. But that doesn’t mean it was good either! California definitely continued on its anti-business trend; but, it just didn’t go off the deep end! As we went into the legislative session for 2019, we were looking at numbers in the Assembly of 61 Democrats, 18 Republicans and 1 vacancy. That’s not just a majority, it’s a supermajority! Similarly in the Senate, California has 29 Democrats and 11 Republicans. Again, a...

Read More

Expanded Cal/OSHA Reporting Requirements for the New Year

This year’s legislative session ended as most due, amongst a flurry of activity and last-minute wrangling to ensure bills reached the governor’s desk. In the pile, since signed by Governor Newsom, were Assembly Bills (AB) 1804 and 1805, which meaningfully modify key definitions associated with worker illness, injury and exposure. As a result of those changes, employers can expect an increase in the number of workplace incidents that now must be reported to Cal/OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health). It’s important to understand what’s different and how this will impact your operation in the new year. Key Definition Changes While modifications...

Read More

Almond Variety Trial Continues

A new round of statewide almond variety trials were started in 2014. There are three trials, one in Chico, Salida and Chowchilla. Each trial used rootstocks that were common to the area. In Butte County, the trees are on the Krymsk® 86 rootstock. In Salida, Nemaguard rootstock was used because that area has problems with root knot nematode. In Chowchilla, Hansen peach/almond hybrid was used because it is more tolerant to drought and salinity. Almond Research Trial Joe Connell, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor emeritus in Butte County, helped establish the almond variety trial at California State...

Read More

Walnut Pest Management: Walnut Husk Fly & Pacific Flatheaded Borer

It seems that growers are always battling pests in order to protect their crops. While we looked into navel orangeworm and codling moth in the first part of this two-part series, this second part shines the light on walnut husk fly and the Pacific flatheaded borer. So just how concerned should a walnut grower be about these pests? They don’t require equal interest, as one is more of a concern than the other. Walnut Husk Fly About the size of a housefly, and far more colorful, the walnut husk fly has one generation per year, in which female flies lay...

Read More

Preventing Soil Erosion in Young Hazelnut Orchards

Soil erosion can present an issue in young hazelnut orchards. Since a ton of soil per acre is only about the thickness of a penny, it doesn’t take long to displace or lose a large quantity of top soil. But according to Nick Sirovatka, acting state agronomist for Oregon Natural Resources Conservation Service (ONRCS), cover crops or conservation crops can help prevent soil erosion, as well as provide more nutrients and water to the tree roots. “Before the canopy is over, there are different potentials for what you can do between the rows,” Sirovatka said. To illustrate this, he put...

Read More

Churchill Fellow visits Oregon During Global Hazelnut Expedition

Global hazelnut production is amid an era of change, expansion and discovery, and one young Briton is traveling the world to chronicle it. Tom Cannon was chosen as a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellow, a rare honor that has afforded him the opportunity to travel the world and compare hazelnut production strategies. His worldwide journey brought him to Oregon in September to learn how American farmers manage their orchards. Third Generation Hazelnut Grower Cannon is a third-generation hazelnut—known as a cobnut in the United Kingdom (UK)—farmer in Kent, a county on the southeast coast of Great Britain that is home...

Read More

Farm Spotlight: Burroughs Family Farms

Like many of the farms in California’s Central Valley, Burroughs Family Farms is the current iteration of a generational legacy spanning all the way back to the early 1900’s. A humble start as milk delivery service in the East Bay soon grew to a dairy, then a move to the Valley allowed for expansion. Three generations and 1,100 acres in, what was once the old way of farming is now becoming new—organic and regenerative. Transitioning to Organic “We were conventional farmers up until 2000,” says Benina Montes, owner and manager of Burroughs Family Farms. “We farmed almonds conventionally, but used...

Read More

Increasing Yields and Reducing Inputs

In farming, we are always striving to produce two outcomes: Increasing yields while reducing input costs. Of course, that’s much easier said than done. A couple years ago, after presenting a budget to a farmer, I received a common response: “Rich, It’s not always what you make, but what you save that matters…” Well, that only makes sense if you have already maximized your production. Let’s dive a little deeper into that math. Increasing Yields Let’s say a farmer makes a 2000 pound almond crop. At an arbitrary price of $250 per pound our gross yield is $5000 per acre....

Read More

Honey bees, Small but Impactful

The honey bee may be small in size, but the impact it has on agriculture is enormous. It has been reported the value of the European honey bee, Apis mellifera L., to pollination services is estimated to be more than $217 billion globally and $20 billion in the United States annually. In California alone, about one-third of agricultural revenue comes from pollinator-dependent crops. In the world of nut crops, the honey bee is as important to the crop as the crop is to the bee. And no nut crop needs them more than California almonds. And likewise, no single crop...

Read More

With SB1 in the Rear-View Mirror, California Can Now Look Toward the Future

We applaud Governor Newsom’s veto of SB1, legislation that would have blocked efforts aimed at finding collaborative solutions to water supply and ecosystem challenges. He chose to calmly focus on the long-term rather than get caught up in the politics of the moment, which is often difficult. But it’s critical because what’s at stake is nothing short of California’s water future. Voluntary Agreements Now that the path is clear, the Voluntary Agreements (VAs) on water can move forward. These agreements represent a completely new way to manage our water supply and environment because they are cooperative efforts between all water...

Read More

Harvesting Strategies to Reduce Dust

A clear view to the very end of a row of trees, just a few rows away from operating harvest equipment, showed how seriously California’s almond growers are taking their industry’s efforts to reduce dust. Dust Reduction Goals Purchase of harvest equipment designed to generate less dust, harvest strategies to reduce dust and grower efforts to minimize dust in sensitive areas are all attempts by almond growers to meet 2025 dust reduction goals sought by Almond Board of California (ABC). The goal, set in 2018, is to reduce total harvest dust by 50 percent. Air quality, particularly during late summer,...

Read More

Want to Thrive Postharvest? Make a Plan

For an almond grower, practicing postharvest irrigation and providing proper nutrients to the trees after the busiest season of the year is a way to “pay it forward” for next year’s crop. By the end of September, flower formation inside the buds is coming to an end and next year’s crop yield potential is set. The principle is simple: greater flower development in the current season may result in greater return the following season. Taking care of those recently developed buds with good water and nutrient management will maximize next year’s fruit-set. Like many things in life, preparation is key, and preparing your trees...

Read More

Increasing Evidence of Pacific Flatheaded Borer Attack in Walnut Orchards in California

Background and Pest Status Flatheaded borer is a larval stage of one specialized group of beetles (Insect family-Buprestidae), which are glossy iridescent colors. The name ‘flatheaded’ comes from the enlarged and flattened shape just behind the head of the larval stage (Fig. 1) of the beetle (Fig. 2), and the flatheaded borer species that has become a major issue in walnuts is Pacific flatheaded borer (PFB), Chrysobothris mali, which is known to present in the western states such as Washington, Utah, Oregon, California. A similar type of borer species causing serious damage in various nurseries and other fruit and trees...

Read More

Meet the New UCCE Farm Advisors

Joy Hollingsworth Kingsburg native Joy Hollingsworth is part of the 2019 crop of new University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisors. Hollingsworth was appointed in April as the nutrient management and soil quality advisor in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties. “Right now I am focused on meeting growers and assessing their needs,” Hollingsworth said. “One area will be helping growers with new environmental regulations.” Hollingsworth said she is also planning directions for research. Most of her work so far has been in agronomic crops, but she said with the abundance of permanent crops in her area, she would...

Read More

Grower Profile—Jocelyn Anderson

To Jocelyn Anderson, farming is a family tradition that has been passed down on both her mother and father’s side. Farming, however, wasn’t always where she envisioned her life taking her. Anderson’s maternal great grandparents moved to Anaheim from the Netherlands and started farming oranges. In search for more farmland her grandparents moved to Willows, California. They started a small farm, primarily farming sugar beets, row crops and rice. Jocelyn’s Dad, Gary, also grew up farming. His parents met at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and farmed walnuts in Paso Robles. They sold the farm eventually to move up north...

Read More

Women in Ag

From board rooms to hospitals to classrooms and even the farm, women are a growing segment to any business. More women are in leadership roles and executive positions in various different industries. It should be no surprise that agriculture is the same. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, more than 36 percent of farm operators are women, equally over 1.23 million nationwide. While the percentage of farms with women decision makers continues to grow, the number of male farmers fell by 1.7 percent to 2.17 million. Women are making an impact in the way businesses are run from the...

Read More

The Latest in Drone Technology

Stressed trees and pest outbreaks in large orchards are not always easy to see with “on the ground inspections.” Time and cost for labor in checking orchards comes into play. There is also the possibility of an incorrect diagnosis. Identifying problem trees or areas and determining reason for tree stress can now be done with aerial drone technology. Aerial Drone Technology Chris Lawson, development manager for Aerobotics, a Cape Town based AgriTech startup, said aerial drone technology can assist growers and farm managers in identifying health or pest problem areas in large orchards. The company was co-founded by James Paterson...

Read More

New Outlooks for Hull and Shell Management Options Using Biosolarization

Managing Almond Hulls and Shells Almonds are American’s favorite tree nuts by far1, but what many consumers do not realize is that the kernel we eat is only 27 percent of the nut. The majority of the almond nut—the hull and shell—is a byproduct. It is estimated that 1.6 billion pounds of shells and 4.5 billion pounds of hulls are co-produced with kernels annually, a number that is only expected to increase as more almond trees are planted in California2. (more…)

Read More

Thermal Imagery—a Tool for Assessing Water Status in Almond Trees

To meet increasing demand for reduced water consumption, California almond growers know efficiency in irrigation practices must improve. One of the improvement avenues identified by research is a more precise method of assessing tree stress. As a three-year study of thermal imagery continues, researchers aim to develop a method that will use inexpensive thermal imagery to evaluate tree water needs and help growers with management decisions. Research Work funded by the Almond Board of California (ABC) and lead by Brian Bailey of the University of California (UC) Davis Plant Sciences Department showed that using a forward-looking infrared radar device (FLIR)...

Read More

FSMA Produce Safety Inspections: What to Expect

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed in 2011 to help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. Under the FSMA rules are the Preventive Controls Rule (PCR) which covers processors/handlers and the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) which covers farms. The PSR is being implemented in stages between 2019 and 2021 depending on farm size. In California, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is contracting with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to conduct the on-farm inspections to verify FSMA compliance. CDFA has created the Produce Safety Program (PSP) to educate and assist growers in complying with PSR requirements. Impact on...

Read More

American Pecans

American Pecans Have you been hearing more about pecans in the last year? It’s not a coincidence! Last April, the pecan industry launched American Pecans, The Original Supernut™, a national consumer campaign designed to reshape the way Americans think about pecans—beyond the pie.   Mission The new campaign is the work of the American Pecan Council (APC), an organization of passionate U.S. pecan growers and handlers (processors) whose mission is to promote the many benefits of the American pecan and tell its story to consumers. Founded in 2016 through a Federal Marketing Order, the APC is funded by industry members...

Read More