WCN1220 Archives - West Coast Nut

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Putting Local Weather Data to Work in your Orchards

Cold temperatures usher in the dormant season, giving trees and growers a much-needed respite from the intensity of the summer months. The transition to dormancy and lack of visible activity within the orchard can belie the important processes that occur during this time. Just as growers are preparing for the start of another season with winter sanitation, pruning, fumigation and planting, the trees are also setting up for their next crop even during their physiological rest. Weather during this phase of the tree’s life cycle plays a crucial role. In fact, weather plays an important role at every stage of...

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Be Aggressive with Red Imported Fire Ants

California’s arid conditions have slowed the spread of red imported fire ants since they were first introduced into the state in the late 1990s. But if you have them in your almond orchard – especially if you have microsprinklers that raise humidity – Extension entomologists recommend an aggressive baiting program starting in spring when temperatures warm. “We’ve seen some really good results with the baits that are available now,” said Kris Tollerup, a UCCE IPM advisor. “You have to be diligent with Southern fire ants and pavement ants, and it’s becoming a little more common with RIFA. “I’m not recommending...

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End of Year Irrigation

It’s here: the last month. 2020 is winding down; pray for rain. In my humble opinion, it couldn’t end quickly enough. I’m ready to forget 2020 faster than I forgot where I put my keys. For nut farmers, we hope the worst is behind us with low prices and stalled markets; yet, we trudge on. We catch our breath, fix any equipment we wore out this year, service our systems, clean our irrigation lines, apply our soil amendments and fill our soil profile with water. “Wait, what?”, you ask. “I’m tired, I’m done, and I don’t have any water left...

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Transpiration Uniformity as a Useful Metric for Tree Nut Growers

Distribution uniformity (DU) has long been viewed as a top priority for orchard managers. However, many successful growers are turning to a next-generation measurement thought to be more effective in improving yield: transpiration uniformity (TU). This article explains the differences between the two metrics and argues that TU should become the preferred metric for most growers.   What’s the Difference? Distribution uniformity is a measure of the irrigation system. Transpiration uniformity is a measure of the plant itself, and as such, is more closely related to the holy grail of tree uniformity. Specifically, DU describes how uniformly water is being...

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Getting Proactive About Navel Orangeworm

Given its persistence and potential for crop damage, navel orangeworm is no longer just another problem that can arise; rather, it’s a problem that will arise, and management must be thought of as a proactive annual program like fertilizers, harvest or pre-emergent herbicides. That was the message at a recent webinar on Getting the Most Out of Your Navel Orangeworm Program. Peter McGhee, an entomologist with Pacific Biocontrol, outlined the key fundamentals of an efficient NOW management program and how best to incorporate pheromone mating disruption. He was joined by independent PCA Carla Youngblood and nut grower Chris Wylie with...

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A Season of Harvest, Thanksgiving and Optimism for 2021

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year unlike any other. From the escalation of a global pandemic and its impacts on our businesses and families, to a contentious election season and unrest in many cities, this year has been full of the unexpected. It has required new levels of understanding, adaptability and persistence; and while our normal patterns of life have been disrupted, fall brings us two familiar occasions intrinsically linked to our industry – harvest and Thanksgiving. As we approach the close of the year, it is indeed with thanks that we look back at a...

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Tariffs and Trade Barriers: What to Expect in 2021

Industry leaders are keeping a close eye on international trade tariffs, which are adding as much as 120% to purchases of U.S. tree nuts by foreign buyers. Lowering tariffs, or duties on imported goods, will help California almonds, walnuts and pistachios continue to expand sales abroad. But retaliatory trade policy and deteriorating U.S.-China relations have complicated efforts to reduce tariffs. The pandemic’s supply chain challenges and uncertainty over the outcome of the U.S. presidential election have further compounded trade concerns. “The difficulty is that discussions about agriculture are not isolated from broader trade priorities,” said Julie Adams, vice president of...

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Trap Crops in Pistachio

Planting a secondary crop to entice insect pests with a more delectable meal than the primary crop offers is a unique integrated pest management strategy currently being explored in pistachio orchards. Research funded by the California Pistachio Research Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture is determining how to best use a spring/summer cover crop as a ‘trap crop’ to attract stink bugs away from pistachio clusters early in the season when nuts are more vulnerable to attack by these insects. While simple in theory, timing the establishment of trap crops to coincide with pistachio nut development and...

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Boron-Resistant Rootstock Research Shows Promise

Excessive boron in the soil and irrigation water is problematic for almond trees. The problem with boron in almonds is a little different as opposed to other crops. “In stone fruit, including almonds or anything of the Prunus background, they use a certain kind sugar to transport energy around the tree that other plants don’t use as much of,” according to Katherine Jarvis-Shean, UCCE orchard systems advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties. Boron essentially piggybacks on top of that sugar and keeps recirculating it in the plants. In most plants, boron comes up from the soil with the water,...

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FARM Advisor Profile: Blake Sanden

Blake Sanden, UCCE Irrigation & Agronomy Farm Advisor Emeritus, Kern County, followed a unique path to a career in agriculture. His first foray into ag started when he was a teen in the 1970s, growing up as the quintessential tanned, long-haired beach bum in San Diego. The first crop he ever grew consisted of six plants that just recently became legal. When he and his two friends graduated high school, they geared up for a 14-day backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada. On their last day in a surprisingly empty Yosemite, Sanden and his friend hiked the back of Half...

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Planning for Spring Pest Management in Walnuts

Walnut leaf-out in late winter or early spring signals time to monitor for insect pest invasions. Species of insect pests vary depending on growing region, but growers and managers should be prepared with a plan for monitoring and suppressing populations before they cause economic damage to the crop. Jhalendra Rijal, UCCE area integrated pest management advisor in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties, and Rachel Elkins, UCCE pomology advisor in Lake and Mendocino counties, report very different insect pests that invade walnut orchards where they work. Rijal’s territory includes many acres of conventionally grown walnuts where codling moth and navel...

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Are You Compliant?

The clock is ticking as the time has come for California businesses with five or more employees to provide anti-harassment training for their employees. California’s SB 1343 requires employers to provide one-hour training for non-supervisory employees and two hours of training for supervisors every two years. However, please note that farm labor contractors are the exception to this rule and are required to provide supervisors training on an annual basis to comply with California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. The original deadline to provide this training to employees was Jan. 1, 2020, however Governor Newsom extended this deadline to Jan....

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Late Blight Concerns in Pistachios

Plant pathologists say the number of calls has increased as well as the level of concern, as a combination of factors have combined to put late blight on the front burner for many pistachio growers going into the 2021 season. “We are getting a lot of calls lately about this problem, more so in the last couple of years,” said UC Davis plant pathologist Themis Michailides, who is based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier. “It is a big issue in some areas where they are prone to the development of the disease, and it is...

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Almond Grower Banks on Regenerative Almond Orchard Practices

Ward and Rosie Burroughs of Burroughs Family Orchards are finding that being a regenerative farm is financially sustainable. Organic and/or regenerative-grown almonds command a higher price than their conventionally grown counterparts, although the cost to produce them is also higher, Rosie said. But margins and the bottom line aren’t the only reason the Burroughs have chosen regenerative farming. “We believe in what we’re doing. We realize not everyone can do it, but for us it’s a tremendous fit,” Ward said. “It’s helping our soil health and the biology in our soils.” It’s also about crop resiliency to a changing climate....

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Governor Newsom Responds to Devastating Wildfires: Can Agriculture Survive His Response?

As a result of the devastating wildfires experienced throughout California this year, California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a couple of ground breaking reforms to address climate change. As a result, he may be getting ready to burn up the California economy in return. In late September, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-79-20, which set forth very ambitious goals to mandate that all sales of new cars and trucks will be zero emissions by 2035 and that all operating medium and heavy-duty trucks will be zero emissions by 2045. Further, all drayage trucks will be zero emissions by 2035 and...

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Making the Most of Soil, Leaf and Water Sampling

Sampling soil, leaves and water helps orchardists monitor changes in salinity, alerts them to nutrient deficiencies and, when soil sampling is done preplant, can prevent growers from planting a crop that may not perform well in a particular site. In a UC-ANR webinar in October, Phoebe Gordon, a UCCE orchard systems advisor for Madera and Merced counties, shared information on the benefits of soil, leaf and water sampling, explained how and when to sample and provided information on how to read test results.   Tissue Tests for Nutrients In general, Gordon said that she prefers leaf tests over soil tests...

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Should Wetlands Be Regulated Like Factories?

In times of war, combatants have been known to pick up the weapons left behind by retreating troops and use them against the very people who had previously depended on them for protection. It’s hard to believe that this illustration applies to California water law, but in today’s world, anything is possible. The Clean Water Act, the basis of which was enacted in 1948 as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and amended in 1972, is the fundamental structure for regulating pollution discharges into the waters of the U.S., including wetlands. That means if you’re going to discharge pollutants from...

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Regional Considerations for Pistachio Growers

Pistachios are arguably the most profitable permanent crop currently being produced in California. Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board, reported in the opening session of the 2020 UCCE Pistachio Short Course that the number of acres being planted to pistachios does not appear to be slowing down and domestic and export markets remain strong. “Pistachios can grow where some other crops cannot,” Klein said, noting their adaptability to a range of environmental conditions. While there is no perfect site for pistachio production, UCCE orchard advisor Katherine Jarvis-Shean said most areas in the Central Valley are potential sites...

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