WCN819 Archives - West Coast Nut

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CSU Fresno Developing Tree Nut Hulling/Processing Course for Students

You may recall, in your previous life of schooling, having to sit through riveting science lectures. Lessons often centered around the makeup of cells within our bodies, or the fundamentals of chemistry might come to mind. While most of us can be thankful that we have yet to be tested on these past lectures, what if there were labs and lectures tailored specifically to helping students familiarize and understand the tree nut hulling and processing industry? Students at CSU Fresno (Fresno State) will soon have that opportunity. Tree Nut Industry Classes Over the past year, staff with the Western Agricultural...

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2019 ‘Off’ Year Pistachio Crop Looks Above Average

Adequate chill over the winter in all California growing regions, plus new acreage coming into production are expected to bring in a harvest that is estimated to be in the 700-850 million pound range. That is not close to record 994 million pounds of pistachios harvested last year in California, Arizona and New Mexico, but is very good production for this alternate bearing crop, said Richard Matoian, executive director of American Pistachio Growers. Increased Acreage Matoian said he is comfortable with the 700-850 million pound range that was forecast at the International Dried Fruit and Nut Congress in May. The...

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Protecting the Roots: Nematode Management in Perennial Crops

The agriculture industry often has adversaries, whether they’re pests, diseases, inclement weather, or various regulations. On the flip side, it seems that every year the industry takes progressive steps to effectively handle or work within all those constraints. The problem with nematodes in the soil is no exception, and farmers and researchers work together to battle these parasites. Nematodes in the Orchard: A Brief There are thousands of species of nematodes, existing in nearly every ecosystem reaching from the tropics to Antarctica. These microscopic roundworms exist in beneficial and harmful varieties, with the plant-parasitic nematodes being a significant concern to...

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Supplemental Pollination Shows Potential

Every year in early February, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor Elizabeth Fichtner said, she gets calls from anxious almond growers about using supplemental pollination in their orchards to ensure profitable yields. Challenging Weather Growers have concerns about almond pollination, she said, when the extended weather forecasts call for cool, cloudy and rainy days. Their bee supplier may not be able to deliver adequate numbers of hives or hive strength may be an issue when there are fewer hours that bees will fly. This year was one of those challenging times of cool, wet weather that is not...

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The Call of the Wild: Taming the Sleeping Dragon Bot of Walnut

In the last decade or so, we observed an unusual high incidence of diseases caused by fungi in the family of Botryosphaeriaceae known as Bot cankers and blights. It was in 1985 when Dr. Michailides as a postdoctoral researcher started working with Bot of pistachio which initially was discovered in a few orchards in Butte County and was very severe in the first pistachio commercial orchard planted in Durham California. It took about 10-12 years until the disease became an epidemic among the pistachio growing acreage from the north (Butte, Glenn, and Tehama Counties) and Central (Merced, Madera, and Fresno...

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Root Health and Moisture Management for Pre-harvest

Orchard soils lacking in adequate calcium levels at harvest time can lead to abiotic stress in trees and result in physiological disorders. This nutrient is critical during hot summer months due to its positive effect on root health. Root growth slows and stops when calcium is not supplied to root tips. Without adequate water uptake ability, stress, disease and insect pressure are inevitable. Calcium Devin Clarke, crop manager for tree nuts for Yara North America emphasized the important role of calcium in moisture management at the Almond Day event held in Fresno on June 12. This workshop gave an overview...

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Ethephon Applications

Two objectives in using the plant growth regulator Ethephon in walnut production are an earlier harvest and a more efficient harvest. Ethephon, sold as Ethrel, is converted to ethylene a gas that is responsible for changes in texture, softening, color and other maturation processes. The systemic properties of Ethephon allow it to penetrate plant tissues and decomposed to ethylene. In walnuts, ethylene accelerates walnut hull cracking and separation from the shell, advancing harvest by a week to ten days, depending on season and variety. Harvest efficiency is improved as more uniform maturity is achieved and only a single shake is...

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Land, Water, Air: What’s Happening in Irrigation Tech

All farmers use technology in their orchards.This includes technology as it applies to—and continues to shape—irrigation. Agriculture has seen some incredible changes since the ancient peoples diverted flood waters into their fields in 6000 B.C., and the shifts in technology allow today’s farmers to know far more about what is happening in the soil, the trees, and with the water. When drip irrigation was invented in 1960, the irrigation and farming industries were transformed. In the 1970s, neutron probes appeared on the market and created yet another step for irrigation and farming. With the need to know more about what...

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Historic Water Management Agreement at Risk Under California’s Senate Bill 1

You’re running a marathon that everyone said you’d never complete. Despite many obstacles, you kept moving forward. And then, just as the finish line is within sight, race officials announce that the results won’t count. California is at this juncture now on water management policy. Following marathon-like negotiations between federal and state policy makers and regulators, local water agencies and other stakeholders, agreement on how to more effectively manage our water is finally within reach. Proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1, by San Diego Senator and Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, puts that victory at risk. Voluntary Agreements The State Water...

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Grower Finds Automated Irrigation Improves Efficiency

Have a conversation with grower and handler Ron Fisher about his values related to the almond business and you’ll notice a consistent theme: efficiency. The philosophy is one he’s embraced since 1986 when he formed Fisher Nut Company, and Fisher took that same efficiency acumen from his handler business and applied it to the almond growing operation he started in 2000. Fisher, who now farms about 1,000 acres of almonds in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, said his team strives to work as efficiently as possible. “We want to be stewards of the land and water because environmental issues are...

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Hedgerow Planting has Benefits and Drawbacks

A Chandler walnut hedging and whisking trial on an 11-year-old Chandler block was the topic of discussion for presenters Bruce Lampinen, integrated orchard management and walnut specialist, University of California (UC) Davis, and Janine Hasey, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor and walnut specialist, at the 42nd Annual Nickels Soil Lab Field Day in Arbuckle. Hedgerow walnut planting, like all agricultural practices, has its proponents and opponents, its pros and cons. It was those pros and cons the research team shared with those attending the field day. The hedgerow practice in walnut orchard planting is a high density...

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WAPA Conference

In-depth discussions of the water, food safety and regulatory challenges facing agricultural processors were highlights of the Western Agricultural Processors Association annual meeting in Monterey. Water “Policy makers are losing sight of the importance of California agriculture to the U.S. and to the world, said Mike Wade, California Farm Water Coalition. The State Water Resources Control Board’s water quality plan, adopted last December, calls for 30-50 percent unimpaired flows from tributaries of the San Joaquin River and prepares for 45-65 percent flow requirement on the Sacramento River. It also redirects 2 million acres feet of water through rivers to the...

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Managing Hull Rot in Almonds

Prevention of a fungal disease that can affect almond yields for many growing seasons starts with a correct diagnosis and understanding of disease biology. Hull Rot Almond hulls are susceptible to hull rot fungi from the beginning of hull split until the hulls are dry. This period can last from 10 days to two months depending on the irrigation and fertilization management of the orchard. There are no control measures once hull rot infections are visible. University of California (UC) Riverside plant pathologist Jim Adaskaveg identified the ‘deep V’ stage of hull split as the stage when almonds are most...

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Crop and Marketing Predictions from the 2019 World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress

More than 60 countries were represented at this year’s World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress, which was held in Boca Raton, Florida. Nearly 1,300 people attended, many of them presidents and CEOs from the world’s leading nut and dried fruit companies and organizations. The Congress, or INC (International Nut and Dried Fruit Council), as it is affectionately called, is the largest international gathering of its kind. It’s an annual event for leaders in the industry—big marketers, customers and producers—to network, search out opportunities, and enjoy relaxing social activities with like-minded people. At these congresses, attendees receive crop forecasts, updates on...

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Farm Labor Contractors—Essential and Risky

As harvest gets underway for some and is in full swing for others, the issue around having sufficient labor persists. The challenge drives many growers to use a farm labor contractor (FLC) as a means for ensuring there are enough people to get the job done. Often times, though, growers use FLCs believing that in doing so, there is a firewall of protection between them and the liability of having workers. Nothing could be further from the truth in California. It is critical that growers not only understand the risks inherent in working with a FLC but also how to...

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Water Recharge Research Shows Potential

For decades many California farmers had used flood irrigation as a means to irrigate their crops. As California was plagued by impacts of drought, farmers adopted more progressive methods of farming. Flood irrigation seemed to become a thing of the past. Over the past 30 years, there has been increased irrigation efficiencies within the nut industry and specifically with applying water directly to the root zones via micro irrigation. Micro Irrigation Micro irrigation was believed to be a better alternative to flood. Farmers would be able to minimize their water use while increasing the amount of water applied directly to...

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Expanding your NOW Toolbox

By Kathy Coatney | Editor

Overall the first flight of navel orangeworm (NOW) has been lighter than normal this year. This could be attributed to relatively low 2018 damage levels, especially in pistachios, and the cooler, wetter weather during the 2019 spring. “If we get really warm sustained temperatures early in the spring, navel orangeworm wakes up early and becomes active,” according to David Haviland, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) entomology farm advisor for Kern County. But this spring was cooler, overcast and wet, so the first flight was more spread out than normal, Haviland said. NOW Damage “Damage last year in almonds was...

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