Mating Disruption For NOW Works

Trials Show that Mating Disruption Works Well to Offset NOW Damage

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Mating disruption for navel orangeworm works. David Haviland is a UCANR, farm advisor, Kern County. “We all know navel orangeworm is not a simple pest to control and it takes an integrated pest management approach. We know the base of that sanitation—getting rid of all the mummies in the winter to make sure that we reset the clock when navel orangeworm comes back in the spring,” noted Haviland.

“We know that the earlier you harvest, the better you’re going to be. So early and timely harvest is going to help. We know insecticides helped. They’ve been around a while and they’re effective and, certainly, people are using them,” said Haviland. “At the same time, those three things alone don’t always control the pest to the level you need. And that’s where mating disruption can come in as the other leg on the IPM chair.”

Haviland has tested the mating disruption products. Currently, there are three different groups of products registered. There are the aerosol products that releases pheromone throughout at certain intervals throughout the season. The second group, what we call the Meso emitter, that’s a rubber strip that’s hung in the trees that passively releases the pheromone all year and the third group, which is new, is as a sprayable pheromone. It’s one that you put in the tank and you spray it along with an insecticide or fungicide.

“In 2017 trials the big take-home message this that all three of the aerosol products were effective. They all work well, as does the Meso emitter, so all those work about the same,” noted Haviland.

Haviland said the sprayable product did not work as well. And then a 2017/2018 Haviland had larger trials and it confirmed their previous trial. “The earlier trial showed a 40 to 50% reduction in damage, while the later trial on larger acreage shows 60 to 70% reduction in damage, which always returned money to the grower,” he said.

Westlands Could Get Permanent Federal Water

Huge Water Contract for Westlands

From Families Protecting the Valley


According to the L.A. Times, the “Westlands Water District, a sprawling San Joaquin Valley farm district with ties to the Trump administration, is poised to get a permanent entitlement to a massive quantity of cheap federal irrigation supplies.”

How much are they supposed to get?  “1.15 million acre-feet of water.”

BUT…”There is no guarantee it will get that, since Westlands is low in the federal project’s pecking order and is among the first cut in times of shortage. Since 1990, it has received its full allotment in only four years.”  Conclusion:  Even with all the water available last year they only received 55%.

The article goes on to say “long-term control would also allow Westlands to make lucrative water sales to thirsty cities and other agricultural agencies”…Conclusion:  BUT, “To date Westlands hasn’t sold any water outside of its district. We don’t sell the water for a handsome profit.”

Why were they able to make the deal?  “Westlands asked for the new agreement under provisions of the 2016 WIIN Act, which opened the door for all reclamation contractors across the West to convert their water service contracts to permanent contracts if they repaid what they still owe federal taxpayers for construction of a federal water project.”  Conclusion:  So, they followed the law. 

So, how much do they still owe?  “In a letter to Westlands, the reclamation bureau last year estimated that the district owed the government $320.5 million as of June 2018.”

BUT, “In 2015 Westlands struck a settlement over drainage services that courts had ruled the federal government was legally obligated to provide…Under the settlement, Westlands agreed to assume drainage responsibility, said it would permanently retire 100,000 acres of badly drained land and would also accept a 25% cut to its water contract.”

SO, “In return, the government agreed to forgive Westlands’ construction debt — then roughly $350 million — and give the district a permanent contract for the reduced delivery amount.”  

Conclusion:  If you follow the story you can see the federal government had some obligations with regard to drainage, and made a deal for Westlands to assume the responsibility in exchange for the water contract.

The headline – Feds set to lock in huge water contract for well-connected Westlands Water District – would have you believe Westlands is getting something because of their powerful connections.  Conclusion:  It looks like they just followed the law and made a deal.

Orchard Sanitation Will Reduce Navel Orange Worm

Sanitation is Foundation of Navel Orange Worm Pressure

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Now that almonds and pistachios are harvested there is needed break on the farm. But soon it is recommended by experts that orchard sanitation is needed to remove any mummy nuts from the trees to reduce to reduce Navel Orange Worm next year

Joel Siegel is a USDA ARS entomologists and Parlier in Fresno County

“Yes, and again, in a perfect world, if everybody could sanitize perfectly, you could argue there’d be very little need for spraying because there wouldn’t be any navel orange worm,” Siegel said. “The reality is far uglier than that. We’re dealing with difficulties and getting into the orchard because of weather. And again, people have to make that commitment towards sanitation and the cost has gone up. So I’m hearing talk of $300 per acre and higher. So again, people have to factor that their worlds has changed,” he said.

Sanitation is a numbers game. The higher the population at the beginning of the season, the higher the damage expected at the end of the season. The most effective way to reduce overwintering populations of navel orange worm is sanitation. For every mummy left on the tree, that’s equal to its percent damage. One mummy nut, 1% damaged, five mummy nuts per tree, that’s 5% damage. So the ultimate goal is to leave less than one mummy nut per tree, and then those nuts must be removed from the orchard or disced into the ground.

Waiting for Any Sign of Rain

The Lack of Rain is on the Minds of Growers throughout California

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

We spoke with Joe Del Bosque, a diversified grower in Western Fresno and Madera Counties. He farms Almonds, Cherries, asparagus and cantaloupes. He is concerned about the lack of rain.

“We started the water year in pretty good shape with the most of our reservoirs above normal and I think they’re probably still in pretty good shape,” said Del Bosque. “But of course right now it’s starting out like a dry year.”

“We typically have some rains up in the north part of the state by this time of year. And the last time I checked the pumps of the Delta were not running for quite some time there and so we were not picking up hardly any water,” he said.

And, any water coming through those pumps ends up in the San Louis Reservoir. “And the San Louis Reservoir water level was dropping, but hopefully we can pick up more water here as we get into the rainy season.

The fear is that it doesn’t look like any storms, even in the short to long-term forecast.

“That’s exactly right. That’s what I’m seeing. There’s nothing in the near future, at least the next couple of weeks. So yeah, it’s starting to concern us. Absolutely,” noted Del Bosque.





Almond Industry Conference Dec. 10-12

Get it on your calendar!

The Almond Industry Conference, is December 10th through the 12th in Sacramento

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

“The Almond Industry Conference is just a short month and a half away, December 10th through the 12th,” said Jenny Nicolau Senior Manager of Industry Relations and Communications at the Almond Board of California. “This year it’s being held at Cal Expo in Sacramento. It’s a three day event with something for anyone involved in the almond industry.”

It’s free to attend. There are sessions from production research to marketing, more than 250 exhibitors and you can register online today at

“As long as you register, there’s a badge waiting for you. And this way we have everything set up for all the attendees. It is free, but we want people to preregister, so we can plan in advance,” noted Nicolau.

On that website you can also purchase a lunch for Tuesday and Wednesday while supplies last, but this year, there will be more food options.

“New this year, we’ll actually have a food truck village, so there’s really no reason that you need to leave Cal Expo to go grab something to eat,” explained Nicolau. “We’re going to bring everything on site so you don’t miss out any time walking the trade show floor or attending any of the sessions. Everything will be on site,” she added.

Of course there’ll be lots of hours and continuation credit for growers and PCAs.

Almond Board Selects Winner of Mummy Shake Contest


Amber Scheel Steals the Show in Mummy Shake Video Contest

The Almond Board of California (ABC) is proud to announce the winner of this year’s Mummy Shake Video Contest – the Scheel family!

The Scheels are third-generation almond growers in the Ripon/Manteca area. In their video, Amber Scheel dances along to the Mummy Shake while donned in typical mummy garb, with interludes of a side-to-side sway with her mother, Karen, and an appearance from her father Dave, who manages the family’s farming operation.

“When we received a flyer in the mail about the contest, we were so excited to make a video,” said Amber. “I dance professionally, and the contest called for singing and dancing, which is right in my wheelhouse.

“I really wanted to be true to the era of music that the Monster Mash, which inspired the Mummy Shake, came from. I watched 1950’s dance videos and old movies with monsters in them to get inspired. But, of course, in some cases the lyrics told me what to do, like doing ‘The Worm’ to represent ‘navel orangeworm spouses.’”

The Almond Board created the parody song “The Mummy Shake” to help remind growers to break the link between Navel Orangeworm (NOW) and mummy nuts. Now finished with its second year, ABC’s Mummy Shake Video Contest encourages industry members to gather up their friends and family, don their Halloween costumes and dance along to the song in the spirit of both Halloween and the need go back into the orchard postharvest to remove mummy nuts. Participants had from Sept. 16 to Nov. 4 to submit their fun video entries.

Winter Sanitation Should Not be Ignored…

Winter is the time to remove and destroy mummy nuts that harbor NOW larvae, which can hatch in the spring and wreak havoc in the orchard. By removing the nuts, growers are eliminating both a shelter and food source for these overwintering pests. This practice falls in line with the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program for NOW, established by the University of California with support from ABC, which includes different tactics to combat this pest depending on the time of the year.

“Winter sanitation is the core of IPM programs,” said UCCE farm advisor David Haviland, whose family won the contest last year. In their video, Haviland’s sons dressed in super hero costumes and used their super powers to remove mummy nuts from the trees.

…Let’s Follow Tips from the Almond Board!

Growers should keep these key tips in mind when preparing to remove mummy nuts from their orchards and do the “mummy shake”:

Growers should knock all mummies off their trees no later than Jan. 15.
To note: Winter sanitation is most effective when dew has formed or after it’s rained because mummy nuts will have absorbed some moisture, making them heavier and more likely to fall. In addition, a wet orchard floor helps to increase NOW mortality rates.
Both hard- and soft-shell varieties can harbor overwintering NOW, so growers must be sure to remove mummies in both types.
Growers should aim to have fewer than two mummies per tree before bud swell (around Feb. 1). However, growers in the San Joaquin Valley should aim for less than one mummy per tree.
Once on the ground, mummy nuts should be swept into windrows and destroyed either by flail mowing or disking them into the soil, by March. 15.
“We’ve been stressing the importance of winter sanitation for many years, but with increased levels of insect damage in recent crops we decided to shake things up to get growers’ attention,” said Daren Williams, senior director of Global Communications at the Almond Board. “A parody of the Halloween classic ‘Monster Mash’ seemed like a perfect fit given the timing, coinciding with the end of harvest, and the video contest is a fun way to engage growers and their families to spread the word on a serious issue.”

The Scheel family’s winning video, shown below, will be featured at The Almond Conference 2019, held Dec. 10-12 at Cal Expo in Sacramento, among all other submissions in a fun video mash up. There’s still time to register for this premier industry event – visit to RSVP for luncheons, book a hotel and check out this year’s agenda.



Teaching Kids to Cook California’s Bounty

California Farmers Donate Fruits Vegetables, Nuts and Beef to Cook


About 2,725 Consumer Science (formerly home economics) high school students at 15 different high schools will learn how to cook with locally grown produce and meat. The San Joaquin Chapter of California Women for Agriculture (SJ CWA), San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen and the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation (SJFB) have partnered to locate more than 500 pounds of cheese, olives, pumpkins, dry garbanzo beans, walnuts and beef for the students to cook this semester.

For three consecutive weeks starting October 22 and 29 and November 5, 2019, from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the San Joaquin Office of Education in Stockton, each teacher will receive two commodities, recipes and handling material to share with their classes. The local agriculture organizations hope to both teach students what is grown locally and showcase the freshness of locally sourced produce.

The fresh pumpkins and dry garbanzo beans provided by the San Joaquin Chapter of Women for Agriculture were donated by local pumpkin grower, Van Groningen and Sons of Manteca ( and the Rhodes-Stockton Bean Co-Op of Stockton. SJ CWA provides this “hands on educational” cooking opportunity for local high school students enrolled in consumer science courses to give them a snapshot of the variety of crops and commodities grown/raised in San Joaquin County. Teachers and students are provided with a variety of educational information regarding the nutritional value of each of the commodities along with cooking tips and recipes.

SJ CWA Chapter President, Dr. Marit Arana, said, “This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the commodities grown and raised in our county. We are grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively with our donors and for our partnerships with both the San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen and San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation. It takes a team effort to bring an educational experience of this size and scope to so many students within our county.”

San Joaquin County Agriculture is ranked seventh in the nation in dollar value at $2.5 billion and sixth out of 58 counties in the state. California produces about 400 different agriculture commodities and about half the fruits and vegetables in the United States.


October 22, 2019 – CWA donation of pumpkins and dry garbanzo beans

October 29, 2019 – CattleWomen donation of walnuts and beef

November 5, 2019 – SJFB donation of table olives and cheese

Pick-Up Times – From 4:00pm to 5:00pm at 2911 Transworld Drive, Stockton, CA. under the solar panels in Stockton at the San Joaquin Office of Education

For information contact:
Lora Daniels

Don’t Fear Pesticide Residues

New Report Seeks to Reassure Consumers, Calm Unwarranted Safety Fears re: Pesticide

This time of year, food becomes a primary focus of conversation as we turn our thoughts to colder weather, cozy family dinners and the holidays.  Food should be a source of fun, healthiness and good flavors – it should not be a source of fear.  But, when it comes to fruits and vegetables, some groups actively promote inaccurate messaging designed to evoke fear in an effort to promote one farming method over others.

Study after study and government sampling programs repeatedly confirm the safety of produce.  Decades of studies also show the significant health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including the prevention of diseases and increased lifespan.  Yet these groups continue promoting disparaging messaging and have even increased the veracity of their statements in recent promotional efforts.

Even more concerning is this is done in light of peer reviewed research which is showing that when consumers are exposed to inaccurate messaging about “high” residues, they state they are less likely to purchase any produce – organic or conventionally grown.  With only one in 10 Americans eating enough produce each day, registered dietitians and nutritionists have a hard enough time working with clients and consumers on overcoming barriers to consumption, now they also have to counter safety fears?  Doesn’t seem right.

Now a new report seeks to reassure consumers by describing how information from complex risk assessments can be misinterpreted in news stories and by certain groups. “Consumers should feel confident, rather than uncomfortable, when purchasing fruits and vegetables,” says Dr. Carl K. Winter, Cooperative Extension Food Toxicology Specialist Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, and chair author of the Council of Agriculture Science and Technology publication. Continue reading blog post.

Robotic Dairies Saves on Labor

Robotics Slowly Coming Into California Dairy Barns

 By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

It’s all associated with labor shortages, and skills and dairies aim to do something about it by bringing in robotics into the milking parlor

“If you have 3,000 cows, robotics will be a huge investment; however, most of the data collected is for robots in smaller operations,” said Daniela Bruno, who earned a Veterinary Medicine degree in Brazil and then went to grad school at UC Davis. She is a UCANR Dairy Advisor for Fresno County. “Many dairies are interested in how the robots will work in their operation because of major labor shortages,” she said.

The robotic milking machines are stationary in the milking barn, and cows will walk in at an assigned amount of times per day. “I talk about large versus small operations, because each robot, can milk between 65 and 70 cows so that you would need a lot of robots for a 3,000 cow dairy,” Bruno said.

Robotic arm milks a cow.

As far as installing robots, the manufacturer has to come up with a plan. Sometimes they need to build a new barn.

Bruno noted that smaller dairies on the East Coast or Midwest  have many robots, but they’re smaller operations. “They have two or three robots per dairy, while the largest one, to my knowledge, is in Chile, which has 64 milking robots,” noted Bruno.

“But it’s growing in California, due to labor regulations and the number of hours that the workers can milk cows. Dairies are now thinking if they had robots, then they will have to worry less about all the labor issues,” she said.

Bruno described how these robots work, how the cows get to the robots for milking.

“The cows have a collar, and there are several sorting gates that lead to the robot. So let’s say the cow feels the urge to be milked, but the last time she was milked was less than four hours ago. She does not have the permission to be milked again,” noted Bruno. “The dairy can decide if they want the cows milked two, three, or four times a day,” she noted.

The permissions are based on the lactation stage or if she’s a heifer if she’s a first, a second lactation cow. They’re going to control it, and everything is stored in software. And when she approaches the gate, the gate is going to open for the cow if she’s allowed to go, or if she’s not going to be able to be milked yet, the cow is sent to a waiting place where she can rest and eat.

When a cow gets the permission, she walks into the robot milking machines, which will do everything that a dairy employee would do. “It prepares the cow, cleans the cow, and stimulates the cow, then the milking equipment is automatically put on the udders,” Bruno said. “And once the cow is done milking, it applies the post dipping sanitizer on the teat, and the cow is released to go back to its bedding area.”

Bruno said that the robots have many cameras, so they know exactly what they’re doing when they’re pre-treating the cow before milking and milking the cow and post treating the cow after the milking with sanitizer.

And while dairies will need less labor in the milking barn, there will still require employees to maintain the equipment, and there are several companies that offer that service, and prices vary.

“In California, I know of two dairies that have robots already. They’re both in Stanislaus County, and one of the dairies is planning to expand to 10 robots,” she said.

“The dairy operators are pleased to have the robots in place and feel that they could pay for themselves in short order,” Bruno said.

Bruno said she is working with dairy economic specialist Fernanda Ferreira at the  UC Davis research center in Tulare, where there is a project focused on the financial analysis of robots.