Better Navel Orangeworm Spray Coverage

Navel Orangeworm Sprays Tough to Target

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Naval orangeworm is the number one pest in almonds and pistachios, and there’s a lot of research going on to find ways to manage this pest. One important strategy is timely sprays, but Joel Siegel, a research entomologist with USDA Ag Research Service in Parlier, CA, said that it’s tough to get that spray on target.

Joel Siegel Navel Orangeworm Expert

Joel Siegel

“Spraying for naval orangeworm is learning to live with loss. Many years ago, my professor told me to assume that 90 percent of what you put out never goes where you want it to go. I didn’t know that he was being an optimist when he told me that,” he said.

To confirm this, Siegel set up a controlled experiment sponsored by DuPont.  “Using the best setup of spray rigs at two miles per hour, we’re basically getting 10 percent of what we calculated in the tank was actually getting on the nut,” he said.  “Then if you add the difficulty of saying, you want to get it in the suture on an early split almond, you’re probably getting about  two percent of what’s in your tank actually on that suture zone, so you’re dealing with a 98 percent loss.”

Siegel said the spray is getting in the tree, but not on the nut or the suture of the nut. “I’m talking about just getting on target. It’s getting on the leaves, it’s getting on the bark, it might be getting on the ground.”

Siegel noted that it’s actually better to spray at night, when the naval orange worm adults are flying. “That way, some of the drift can actually contact the adults. The other advantage of night spraying is that the humidity is higher, so you’re not getting that loss of having the droplets evaporate.”

2021-05-12T11:02:00-07:00December 29th, 2016|

Almond and Pistachio NOW Sanitation Critical This Winter

Joel Siegel on NOW Sanitation

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Last year was a bad year for navel orangeworm (NOW) mainly in pistachios, but also in almonds. If left in the trees, infested nuts become a great reservoir for more NOW to inhabit them.

Joel Siegel, NOW research entomologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service

Joel Siegel, research entomologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service

Joel Siegel, a research entomologist for the USDA Agricultural Research Service based in Parlier, stresses the importance of having a good sanitation plan in place to remove those NOW mummy nuts. “When we talk about sanitation, it should be the foundation for everyone’s nut program. That’s something that you control.”

“In almonds, it’s absolutely essential. Where we’ve taken a look at it in the south, every infected mummy per tree is good for 1 percent damage. So going from one mummy to two mummies, your damage on average increases another 1 percent.”

“It’s also important to destroy the mummies on the ground. You figure, for every eight or nine mummies on the ground, that’s good for about a half a percent increase in damage. Get them off the tree and shred the almonds.”

Siegel noted that while pistachio growers can clear mummy nuts off the tree, the industry has not been able to shred the fallen pistachios effectively. The hard, rounded pistachio shells just bounce around in the shredder machine.

almond_mummies

Almond Mummies

“What you can do is shake them off the tree as soon as possible so they’re on the ground where they can start rotting. You get those weeds growing around them. It has been shown that they break down faster in the weeds,” said Siegel.

“Growers disc them in. But if you’re going to disc them in, you have to disc them twice. Again, you’re not destroying the nuts, you are burying them so that NOW cannot lay eggs in the spring,” he said.

The risk of poor sanitation is high. Considerable NOW damage can prevent pistachio and almond growers from earning the premium paid for nuts that are pest-free.

2021-05-12T11:05:44-07:00November 22nd, 2016|

California Pistachios Are Set For Record Year

California Pistachios Make Comeback in 2016

 

By Brian German, Associate Broadcaster

California produces close to 99 percent of the nation’s pistachios. With harvest season just about wrapped up, growers are pleased with this year’s crop. 

Last year was a slow one for pistachios, with only 275 million pounds produced.  Because pistachios are alternate-bearing [tendency for an entire tree to produce a greater than average crop one year and a lower than average crop the following year], last year’s disappointing crop allowed the trees to rest before producing this year’s estimated record crop. 

Richard Matoian, executive director, American Pistachio Growers, estimated this year’s crop to be between 830 and 850 million pounds. The last record-setting crop was in 2012 when growers produced 555 million pounds of pistachios.  This year, some California growers have reported broken branches due to the heaviness of the crop, a phenominon Matoian has never seen before.  

Just as last year’s lower harvest enabled the pistachio trees to bounce back this year, increased rainfall last winter helped improve irrigation supplies for the nut trees this year. 

In addition, more chilling hours last winter also helped boost production.  Pistachio trees require cold nights, with at least 800 hours of temperatures below 19 degrees Fahrenheit.  This winter, trees experienced more than 1,000 hours of those conditions. 

Reports indicate that the pistachio crop from Iran, one of our biggest global competitors, is a bit down this year, which could help California growers get a better price for their pistachios.  “We all hope and try to keep the market as strong as it can be,” said Matoian, “but there are market forces at work. You can’t hold on to a crop forever. You have to be conscious of what the world supply is, and so a number of factors go into setting a price.”

Growers are pleased with the overall size of the harvest compared to last year, but they’re also a bit concerned about the prices. “The initial price the growers got last year was somewhere between $2 and about $2.20 per pound. Now we are at a $1.60 to about $1.80 per pound,” Matoian said.

2016-12-12T18:48:36-08:00November 10th, 2016|

Walnut Assessment to Increase

California Walnut Board To Raise Assessment for Domestic Marketing

By Laurie Greene, Editor

 

Dennis Balint, executive director, California Walnut Board; president and CEO, California Walnut Commissionexplained to California Ag Today (CAT) the Board’s proposed increase in the marketable kernel pound weight assessment for the upcoming marketing year. The industry can  comment until Oct. 17, 2016 at the Federal Registry website using the following link:

Marketing Order No. 984, Walnuts Grown in California; Increased Assessment Rate”

Balint: This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the California Walnut Board (Board) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2016-17 year and subsequent marketing years from $0.0379 to $0.0465 per kernel pound weight of assessable walnuts.

The Board, comprised of growers and handlers of walnuts operating within the area of production, locally administers the marketing order. Assessments upon walnut handlers are used by the Board to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The marketing year begins September 1 and ends August 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

California walnut orchard

California walnut orchard

The Board derived the recommended assessment rate by dividing anticipated assessment revenue needed by estimated shipments of California walnuts “certified as merchantable.” The 553,000-ton (inshell) estimate for merchantable shipments is an average of shipments during three prior years.

Pursuant to § 984.51(b) of the order, this figure is converted to a merchantable kernel weight basis using a factor of 0.45 (553,000 tons × 2,000 pounds per ton × 0.45), which yields 497,700,000 kernel weight pounds. At $0.0465 per pound, the new assessment rate should generate $23,143,050 in assessment income, which is equal to estimated expenses.

CAT: So the Walnut Board needs to raise the assessment to generate more dollars in order to maintain the aggressive domestic marketing program the Board did last year?

Balint: We raised the assessment rate to satisfy the programs the Board wanted us to execute. Last marketing year, we did the first substantial marketing campaign in the domestic market. This year, we are repeating the program. The advertising is nearly identical; however, we did have a few new executions for print. Some of the details on the PR side are different. But essentially, it’s the same plan and the same budget.

california-walnut-boardTo run that program last year, we were able to draw on reserve funds in addition to the assessment. This year, we did not want to draw on those reserve funds because we would have brought the reserve funds down to a point we were uncomfortable with. So, the assessment rate went up so we could run the same level of support without touching the reserve.

CAT: Like last year, will this year be a multi-million dollar campaign to really get walnuts on the radar screen for all U.S. consumers?

Balint: Yes. We know that about 22% of U.S. households buy walnuts. We’re trying to increase that amount. Actually, we’re trying to increase two things: the number of households that buy walnuts and the usage of walnuts by people who were previously designated as what we call “light users.” We’re trying to get a bigger slice of the pie.

In the long term, getting new users is critically important. The point we’re trying to make is, no one buys things basically just for price. If they’re already using walnuts, we hope they will buy more if the price is lower.

CAT: And for the people who are not buying walnuts?

Balint: Long term, getting people who are not using walnuts to start using them is the way for our industry to get stronger. Of the people who buy walnuts, about 87% buy them because they know walnuts are healthy. That’s their primary motivation.

CAT: You have spun out beautiful ads about how walnuts can enhance salads and enhance meals.

Balint: The print campaign this season is just a slightly different execution of last season’s campaign, but it is the same strategy.

CAT: And television can be very expensive?

Balint: It is, and it forces us to make choices; whereas, in print we have an array of print ads that cover an array of uses: salads, vegetable side dishes, entrees, appetizers, snacking out-of-hand. The theory is, if you have two or three pounds of walnuts in your pantry and you use them for a salad, you will wind up snacking on them.

CAT: How about digital ads on websites such as the Food Network?

Balint: When you look at the cost of digital, it is cheaper than television, for sure.

CAT: Do you know the value of different mediums?

Balint: In my opinion, what we really do not know is the value of an impression in digital versus the value of an impression in print magazines versus the value of an impression in television. No one has ever quantified that.

CAT: Really?

Balint: Frankly, I don’t think anybody wants to quantify it. It would be very difficult to get everyone to agree.

CAT: But digital seems to be getting more eyes than television.

Balint: The digital people certainly know that they are getting a bigger and bigger slice of the pie.

CAT: Is the consumption of walnuts in the U.S. still flat?

Balint: It has been. We have not seen the latest figures, but [consumption] has been flat probably for 10 years. If you look at the nut category this past year, the usage of nuts was generally down, but we saw a slight increase in walnuts.

We are pleased about that. We know nuts are healthy in general. Walnuts are more of an ingredient nut than our friends in the almond industry and the pistachio industry. They’re more of a snacking nut. We’re more of an ingredient nut.

CAT: Back to the Board’s proposed assessment increase; is it on the Federal Register and people can go there and make comments?

Balint: Yes, that’s correct, and the marketing order gives the Walnut Board the right to do these things. And, similar to the Almond Board’s recent proposed assessment increase, it doesn’t have to go to a referendum.

2016-10-02T21:48:42-07:00September 29th, 2016|

Tree Nut Theft Alert

Roger Isom Warns: Take Precautions to Thwart Tree Nut Theft

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

 

Roger A. IsomWestern Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) president and CEO, told CalAgToday, “Tree nut theft is still a serious issue this year, as it was last year. Folks behind the thefts have not been caught. We’ve had over 30 thefts in the last 6 months.”

There is good news. “We’ve had numerous attempts thwarted,” Isom commented, “because folks have started to implement some of the procedures that we talked about at our emergency Tree Nut Cargo Theft Summit back in December.” Following the successful Summit, nut theft legislation sponsored by the WAPA passed out of the Assembly Agriculture Committee unanimously. According to WAPA, AB 2805 (Olsen) would form a statewide California Agriculture Cargo Theft Crime Prevention Task Force with combined law enforcement services and support activities to fight agricultural cargo theft. Among the loads of tree nuts stolen was a load of almonds reportedly stolen during the Summit.”

Roger Isom, president and CEO, Western Processors Association

Roger Isom, president and CEO, Western Processors Association (source: LinkedIn)

Isom explained, “We brought experts in cargo theft from across the country to the training seminar held in mid-April in Modesto to make sure all members understood: What has happened? How are the thefts occurring? What have we learned from those thefts and the investigations? What can people do to prevent these thefts from happening at their locations?”

“What we’ve learned, for sure,” he explained, “is that if you do not implement the procedures, you will be hit. Following the December meeting, we’ve had companies hit by cargo theft; the [companies] that implemented the practices we talked about prevented thefts from occurring; those that did not have lost truckloads of tree nuts.”

Isom understands it is time consuming to follow the recommendations, and there is some cost associated with it. “You have to take the time to take pictures of the drivers,” he elaborated. “You have to fingerprint the drivers. You’ve got to make calls. You’ve got to make sure these truckloads of shipments have been placed at least 24 hours in advance. If there are driver changes, you cannot allow that. It takes some serious steps to prevent [theft].”

“We had one a few weeks ago,” Isom explained, “where they switched drivers and trucks—literally the day of [transport]. It ended up being OK, but the alarms went off. The next time it could be an actual fictitious pickup.”

Tracking a stolen truckload is difficult. Isom reported, “Typically they do get the license plate number. Prior to these thefts, they might have just asked the driver for the license plate number and taken his word for it. Maybe they would go to the extent of taking a picture of [the plate], but what if it is what they call a “cold plate”, a stolen plate?”

“In at least one of the thefts,” said Isom, “the license plates had been switched. The thieves literally stole somebody’s license plates off a pickup truck and put them on the truckload of nuts. Had someone in charge been educated on license plate numbers—just normal [information]—they may have easily discovered the plates were not valid; they were not applicable for a truck-tractor-trailer setup.

Isom remarked the thieves are clever. “Most occur on a Friday or just prior to a holiday,” he stated. “In some cases, the theft might not be discovered for 3 or 4 days. The damage depends on the value of the nuts at the time,” Isom said, “and are we talking about finished product? Has it been processed? Seasoned? But you’re talking a stolen value of at least $100k-$150k. That’s what makes it so attractive and why cargo theft is on the increase across the country.”

Furthermore, Isom stated, “We’ve been told by law enforcement that Los Angeles (LA) is now the highest cargo theft location in the world. It has increased dramatically in the last couple of years, and more so this past year. We did not see theft in tree nuts until recently. We had the occasional theft out-in-the-field or maybe at the huller—someone picks up a couple of trailers and tries to get rid of them—but not to this level, not this brazen, and not with finished product.

Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP) with the California Highway Patrol

Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP) with the California Highway Patrol

“Now it’s over 30 loads!” he said. “We’ve had almonds taken from 4 or 5 different locations; we’ve had walnuts; we’ve had pistachios from several different locations; and we’ve had cashews stolen. We didn’t even know there were cashews here in California, but they are imported and processed here in Fresno, and there have been multiple loads stolen.”

“Nobody is immune to it,” Isom commented. “Tree nuts are the preferred product right now compared to other cargo thefts—TVs, tires, or tablets. Tree nuts have no serial numbers; thieves can turn and burn them faster than you-know-what. The other attractive part about the tree nuts is you can also store them for while. You can hit the farmers’ markets just a little bit at a time. It’s easy.”

“This is not the common criminal,” Isom surmised. “This is something sophisticated. Look how they have hacked into the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) database to get this information. Look how shipping papers have been modified; they put their phone numbers on them, and it looks legitimate. We’ve had trucking companies’ identities stolen. They’re using their forms, their information, their drivers’ names, but it is somebody else doing this.”

“And trust me,” Isom added; “it’s not the guys just right along California State Highway 99 (‘the 99’), they’ll go to the smallest processor off the beaten path. They fool people with what looks like very legitimate paperwork. This isn’t something that somebody took a sharpie to; these look like legitimate shipping papers.”

Isom and WAPA are engaged with “all the law enforcement, not just the local county sheriffs, including the Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP) with the California Highway Patrol. We’ve got the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) involved now. There are a lot of people on it, but, because of the value, it’s so attractive that we’ve got to make everybody is aware of this.”

“This is a new type of theft facing our industry,” warned Isom, ” and you have to do your due diligence. It takes somebody taking some time, and it is going to slow down shipments. There’s no doubt about it; you have to be prepared and aware.”

Through the use of fictitious pickup, even if the drivers are caught, Isom explained it’s not a felony anymore due to changes in California laws. “If you hold the driver at gunpoint,” he said, “and you basically carjack the truck; that’s a felony. So they’re basically saying that legally, the processor or handler voluntarily gave up the load. So it is not a felony; it’s a misdemeanor. So guys aren’t doing any state prison time. They’re doing a couple of weeks in county jail. With all the overcrowding, Boom, they’re gone; let them go.”

“Quite frankly,” Isom relayed, “the majority of the trucks end up in LA, so that’s where law enforcement finds the trucks. And that’s where they say the theft ‘happened.’ You can’t get the LA district attorney to prosecute these cases because they are too busy with murderers, rapists, and other—what they consider more serious—crimes than your voluntarily giving up a load, in their opinion. Even though some of these loads are worth half a million dollars.”

“But now we have the FBI involved,” Isom affirmed. “Thieves are now stealing on interstate highways; these are now federal crimes. There is certainly more teeth in federal law. When we catch these guys, they’ll be in federal prison, doing some serious time.”

(Featured Photo Source: USDA-NRCS)

2016-05-31T19:24:05-07:00April 26th, 2016|

National Days Celebrations at Fresno State Farm Market

Fresno State Farm Market Hosts National Day Events

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

 

Fresno State’s Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market hosted its Annual Pistachio Day on February 26 in honor of World Pistachio Day. Miles Robinson, a student market lead, said, “We’ve been working with American Pistachio Growers (APG) to market this campaign and give away pistachio samples, all courtesy of APG. We are also raffling a gift basket with several of our products and APG items as well.”12821589_10153999748978330_676533612082576193_n

Robinson said the Fresno State farm market plans to host monthly events to feature the store and student products, including that very fowl day, Poultry Day, on March 18, and National Raisin Day on April 29. “For Poultry Day,” Robinson said, “we’ll be sampling Foster Farms chicken in a couple of different recipes. We look forward to having people actually taste our chicken. We will also have a chicken dance contest. For National Raisin Day we’re partnering with the California Raisin Board to bring information, samples and have a fun time.”

Robinson said the student-run farm market, which specializes in student-made products, is in the process of creating new recipes for its coated nuts and raisins. “Over the past year, we’ve been slowly rolling out new recipes for our milk chocolate raisins, milk chocolate almonds, milk chocolate cabernet raisins and dark chocolate raisins,” Robinson said. “All of our products will have brand-new recipes, 100 percent Fresno State-done.”

2016-08-10T11:56:30-07:00March 11th, 2016|

Pistachios Trump Diabetes

Pistachios Trump Diabetes

By Brian German, Associate Editor

Just eating the right foods can benefit people diagnosed with pre-diabetes or with type 2 diabetes.  Recent research* suggests including pistachios as part of a balanced diet is a sound strategy to help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And the news could increase pistachio imports into China, where the disease is rampant.

Judy Hirigoyen, vice president of global marketing for the Fresno-based American Pistachio Growers organization that represents more than 800 growers in California, Arizona and New Mexico, noted pistachios have a good future in the global diabetes epidemic, especially in China. “Believe it or not,” she explained, “one-third of the entire world’s population of diabetics lives in China. Diabetes is associated, not with overweight or obesity, but with their diet. In particular, a lot of fingers are pointed at a lot of white rice,” she said.

“The good news for the pistachio industry,” said Hirigoyen, “is the Chinese population really loves American products, including pistachios. They’re looking for healthy foods to eat, and pistachios are very widely recommended, especially as part of a diet for someone who either has diabetes or who wants to prevent pre-diabetes from developing into diabetes.”

American Pistachio Growers Infographic - Pistachios and Diabetes

American Pistachio Growers Infographic – Pistachios and Diabetes

__________________________________

*A study, published in Diabetes Care, suggests that pistachios may have glucose- and insulin-lowering effects and promote a healthier metabolic profile in people with pre-diabetes. (Hernandez-Alonso, P., et al. Nutrition attributes and health effects of pistachio nuts. Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113 Suppl 2:S79-93.)

Another study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, suggests that daily consumption of pistachios may shift the lipoprotein size and particle profile to a less atherogenic pattern in people with pre-diabetes. (Hernandez-Alonso, P., et al. Effect of pistachio consumption on plasma lipoprotein subclasses in pre-diabetic subjects. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Apr;25(4):396-402.)

2021-05-12T11:05:58-07:00March 2nd, 2016|

Pistachio Crop Insurance Due Dec. 31

Pistachio Crop Insurance Recommended for 2016

Upcoming Deadline is Dec.31

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Due to the warm winter weather this year, many California Pistachio growers’ crop yields were only slightly more than half of what was expected.  And despite having an existing risk management insurance program, which helped a lot of growers, others who did not have pistachio crop insurance will have to shoulder all their losses.

James Otto, a senior risk specialist with the USDA Risk Management Agency at the Davis Regional Office, commented, “A lot of growers did not take it due to risk management reasons, they were unaware of it, or their agents did not inform them of the availability of pistachio crop insurance.”

And for growers considering purchasing insurance for next season, Otto urges them to be aware of the upcoming December 31, 2015 deadline. “Growers have to sign up for the insurance by that date,” he said. “Signing up can be complicated in that growers must agree to take insurance for two consecutive years, and they also must agree to what coverage level and price percentage to take. Growers are locked in for a two-year policy, but each year stands on its own.”

Pistachios

Pistachios

Payments are based on average yields and the coverage the grower elects. Otto said, “There are some fundamental basics. You have to determine what your average yield is; if it is 2,000 pounds per acre, growers have to select a coverage level (50%, 65%, 70%…),” which is used to adjust the insurance premium rates. Given their chosen coverage level, if their production for the year drops below this level, growers would be compensated for the shortfall by the insurance policy.

“So, for example,” he said, if a grower’s average yield is 3,000 lbs., and he has taken a 65% coverage level—which is roughly 2,000 pounds, if his average yield for this year is 1200 lbs., the result is an 800-pound shortage. The grower gets paid an indemnity of 800 pounds, times an established price.”

Richard Matoian, director, American Pistachio Growers based in Fresno, said pistachio growers should definitely consider risk management insurance, “We think all growers should consider crop insurance, even at the most minimal level—which is what they call “cat” or “catastrophic”—as a risk management tool for operations. In a year like this year in which we had historically low yields on a per-acre basis, crop insurance for many growers is going to be their savior to keep them going.”

Interestingly, Otto explained, Nick Jerkovich, an insurance broker with All Crop Insurance Services, in the Fresno County town of Kerman, Calif., came up with the idea. Otto said, “Back in 2009, Nick mentioned there were a lot of pistachio trees in the ground that did not have a crop insurance program.” It was recommended to Nick to get a petition signed by multiple growers and gather acreage data.

“So Nick, on his own dime, calculated roughly 75-80% of the acreage in the value, submitted that to an administrator, and got the ball rolling.” Otto said Jerkovich’s proaction suggested, “Hey, there is interest! There is interest from the grassroots.” Otto continued, “Based on that initial letter, Risk Management Agency contracted out to have the program developed. It is interesting to see what one individual person achieve!”

2016-05-31T19:27:03-07:00November 25th, 2015|

Record Crowd of Tree Nut Growers in Turlock

Big Crowd in Turlock for Tree Nut and Vine Expo

More than 800 growers and PCAs were at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds TODAY, to hear from many speakers, visit with hundreds of exhibitors, talk about tree nuts and grape vines, and enjoy breakfast and a barbeque Tri-Tip lunch.

“It was the 18th annual event and with a record crowd. All growers were upbeat following a good harvest and good nut prices. Also, both domestic and export sales are increasing,” said Patrick Cavanaugh, editor of Pacific Nut Producer magazine and co-host of the event.
tree nut growers
Exhibitors speak with tree nut growers about products and services
“We are pleased that both the nut and grape industry are doing well in California. All we really need is a lot of rainfall this winter,” said Dan Malcolm, publisher of Pacific Nut Producer as well as American Vineyard magazine, and co-host of the show.
Crowd gathers outside to look over equipment.

Speakers came from UC Davis, Stanislaus County Ag Commissioner’s office, UC Cooperative Extension, Almond Board of California, California Walnut Board, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, and CalAgSafety.

“We appreciate the support of the event sponsors and the record number exhibitors,” said Cavanaugh.
Ryan Genzoli with Cal Ag Safety speaks. tree nut growers

Ryan Genzoli with Cal Ag Safety speaks.

Sponsors Included:
    • Agromillora
    • American Ag Credit
    • Big Tree Organics
    • California Walnut Board
    • Compass Minerals
    • Dave Wilson Nursery
    • Diamond Foods
    • Fresno State Viticulture and Enology Dept.
    • JKB Energy
    • Novozymes
    • Principal Financial Group
    • Yosemite Farm Credit
2021-05-12T11:06:02-07:00November 13th, 2013|
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