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.

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 AlmondConference.com to RSVP for luncheons, book a hotel and check out this year’s agenda.

 

 

Devol Hired by Almond Board To Help Growers

Almond Board Hires Devol to Lead  

 The Almond Board of California (ABC) welcomes Tom Devol as its new Senior Manager of Field Outreach and Education. In his position, Devol will lead a team that engages directly with growers to help them tackle in-orchard challenges and create advancements and efficiencies on their operations. Before arriving at ABC, Devol worked as director of grower services in Field Monitoring and Control for Jain Irrigation, Inc.

“The Almond Board is committed to providing growers with boots-on-the-ground support in our journey toward the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals. We believe walking alongside growers to help them push past barriers to producing a better crop is vital to the future of the California almond industry,” said ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott.

Devol’s resume includes nearly 20 years of experience in irrigation technology. Though he started his career in sales, in 2003 he transitioned to an irrigation design role at Durham Pump & Irrigation. In this position, Devol had the opportunity to meet with growers to define their irrigation needs, design a system that met those needs and then deliver a final, installed system.

Devol recalls the day a grower pulled him aside and told him that while he was grateful for being sold a valuable irrigation system, he had no way of knowing how it was performing and what he could do to maintain it. That comment struck a cord with Devol, so much so that he switched his career focus to field monitoring and grower support and remained in those jobs up until joining the Almond Board.

“Growers are some of the best people to work with, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve them in this capacity,” Devol said.

In his role at the Almond Board, Devol will work with growers to help them solve the issues that keep them up at night – irrigation system efficiency, effective pest management, etc. – while also encouraging them to continue advancing towards the almond orchard of the future. Two major industry efforts will drive Devol and Field Outreach and Education Specialist Ashley Correia, who joined ABC this past year, in their outreach to growers: the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) and the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals.

Devol and Correia will assist growers in self-assessing their orchards using the nine CASP modules, a process that shows growers the progress they’ve made and the opportunities for improvement that lie ahead. Each time a grower completes an assessment and initiates improvements on their operation, they support the entire California almond industry in its effort achieve the 2025 Goals, not only by providing data that helps the industry track progress towards the goals but also by implementing better practices in the areas of water use, pest management, zero waste and dust that will help them farm more efficiently for years to come.

“I feel like my whole career has built me up to this point and I’m excited to share all I’ve learned in the past decades with growers. There’s a real need for grower support in the area of new technology. Knowing how to determine what technology works well in their orchards and then, equally important, knowing how to use, it is a passion area of mine and is key for the industry to understand in order for it to continue advancing towards a more sustainable future,” Devol said. 

Devol will lead the Field Outreach and Education team from his base in Chico while Correia will continue to focus her efforts in the southern part of the valley from her home near Tulare area. The Almond Board is in the process of hiring a third member of the Field Outreach and Education team to round out the grower expertise and geographic coverage of the team. 

“The Almond Board invests heavily in research to improve growing practices, but the return on that investment only pays off if growers have access to the information they need to implement those practices in their orchard,” said ABC’s Senior Director of Global Communications Daren Williams. “Through our Field Outreach and Education program, the Almond Board hand-delivers production tips and best practices to the growers we are here to serve.” 

Those interested to learn more about CASP are invited to arrange an in-orchard visit with Devol, who may be reached at tdevol@almondboard.com and (530) 570-5558. Industry members are also encouraged to hear Devol present on a panel titled, “Research Update: How Much and When to Irrigate,” on Wednesday, December 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at The Almond Conference 2019.

Almond Growers Helped In Trade Dispute

Almond Grower and Board Chair Holly King Attends White House Briefing with President

News Release

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced almonds will be included in the administration’s new trade mitigation package. This package aims to continue the support of farmers and ranchers impacted by delayed negotiations and trade disruption with China.

Almond Board Chair Holly A. King attended a briefing at the White House recently with President Donald J. Trump and representatives from other major farm groups to discuss the trade mitigation package.trade

“It is an honor to represent the California almond industry at the White House briefing with President Trump and express appreciation for his efforts to ease the burden of the trade tariffs on California almond growers,” King said. “We have invested heavily in developing the market for California almonds in China for more than 20 years and hope the Administration is successful in negotiating a new trade deal soon so we can get back to business as usual.”

The $16 billion package includes $14.5 billion for the Market Facilitation Program, $1.4 billion in surplus commodity purchases through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program and $100 million in Agricultural Trade Promotion funding. Almonds will be included in the Marketing Facilitation Program. According to the USDA release, “Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.”

The Almond Board has worked closely with the Almond Alliance of California throughout the developing tariff situation to ensure the voice of the California almond industry is heard.

“The Almond Board and Almond Alliance have been actively engaged with USDA, the US Trade Representative and Congress regarding the impact of this trade disruption on almonds. The Alliance has led efforts ensuring almonds are included in the second mitigation package,” said Julie Adams, Vice President of Global, Technical and Regulatory Affairs at the Almond Board. “We look forward to working with USDA in leveraging these funds to best benefit the entire almond industry and our grower communities.”

Overall, trade disputes have underscored the importance of having diverse, healthy export markets, a position of strength that the California almond industry has long enjoyed. For decades, ABC has supported the industry by making significant investments in foreign market development and expansion. Recently, the Almond Board started marketing programs in Italy, Mexico, Germany and re-entered Japan. ABC also ramped up marketing activity in Germany and India. 

“While we appreciate almonds’ inclusion in the second package, almonds continue to be impacted by the increase in tariffs, and we’ve seen a significant decline in shipments to China, our third-largest export market,” said Adams. “Getting back to normal trade is critical.”

NASS Predicts Another Record-Breaking Almond Crop

2019 Crop Predicted to be 2.50 Billion Pounds

News Release

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is predicting a record California almond crop for the upcoming production year. According to the NASS 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast issued recently, California almond orchards are expected to produce 2.50 billion pounds of nuts this year, up 8.69% from last year’s 2.30 billion-pound crop.  (1)

This forecast comes just weeks after NASS released the 2018 California Almond Acreage Report, which estimated total almond acres for 2018 were up 2% from 2017 at 1.39 million acres. Bearing acres—orchards mature enough to produce a crop—were reported at 1.09 million acres, up 6% from the previous year. Looking ahead, NASS reported preliminary bearing acreage for 2019 at 1.17 million acres, up 7.3% from 2018.  (2)

Richard Waycott, Almond Board President, and CEO

The first of two reports for the upcoming crop, the Subjective Forecast is based on opinions obtained from randomly selected almond growers located throughout the state via a phone survey conducted in April and May. NASS asked growers to indicate their total almond yield per acre from last year and expected yield for the current year based on field observations. The sample of growers interviewed is grouped by size of operation, and different individuals are interviewed each year, allowing all growers to be represented. NASS then combines the yield estimates obtained from each grower and extrapolates the information to arrive at the numbers reported in the Subjective Forecast.

While the Subjective Forecast provides early estimates of the upcoming crop after it is set, NASS’s 2019 California Almond Objective Report will provide a more precise estimate as it uses a more statistically rigorous methodology to determine yield. The report’s data is based on actual almond counts and measurements gathered from over 850 orchards throughout the state and includes the weight, size, and grade of the average almond sample broken down by both growing district and variety.

The California Almond Objective Report will be released on July 3 at 11:50 a.m. PDT. NASS conducts the Objective Report—the Subjective Forecast and the Acreage Report—in order to provide the California almond industry with the data needed to make informed business decisions.

1 USDA-NASS. 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast. May 2019.

2 USDA-NASS. 2018 California Almond Acreage Report. April 2019. 

Madera County Ag Economy is Booming

Madera County Has Big Ag Job Base

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Madera County’s financial future is booming. David Rogers, a Madera County supervisor, is excited to know that Madera County is the fastest and number one growing ag economy in the United States.

“I represent most of the farming, and Madera County, which is the fastest growing our economy in the U.S. and has been for the last three and a half, four years,” Rogers said.

Madera County
David Rogers, Madera County Supervisor

Madera  is a business-friendly county.

“We’ve been number one in small jobs, manufacturing growth for the last nine years in a row, and all of that is ancillary to agriculture,” he said.

Pistachios and almonds have aided in Madera County’s financial growth.

“Some of those orchards that were planted five years ago are going to mean big revenue,” Rogers said.

Expansions to the Triangle T System have aided in the conveyance.

“The expansions were in wide areas, and conveyance is so critical to that,” Rogers explained.

There is also a new tunnel system that goes under the river for delivery.

“There was a lot of money that went into developing their system, and it’s paying off big time. I believe it’s almost 50,000 acres. It was 30,000 originally, I think, and it’s expanding more all the time,” Rogers said.

He also commented on the need for proper forest management that will allow more water into the system.

“One of the most important things that we can do right now is continue to emphasize forest management because that is a source of more water,” he said. The better the management, the faster the forests can return to a healthy state. With a healthier forest, that means more water in the system and more water in our ground.

Hershey’s Chocolate Loves California Almonds

Almonds and Chocolate: The Perfect Duo

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

You can find a piece of Hershey’s Chocolate with almonds almost anywhere. The delicious pairing makes for the perfect treat! Karen Ocamb, a supply quality auditor for Hershey’s, is working to make sure the relationship between the almond industry and her company remains sustainable and beneficial.

After visiting the Almond Board Conference in Sacramento, Ocamb reported the good things the board is doing to make the partnership a success.

“My perspective of the Almond Board is a really good, beneficial kind of facility that takes the almonds and gives us a better perspective of what should be done out there,” she explained.

Ocamb also knows the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship between Hershey’s and the almond industry, particularly on the consumer’s behalf. Her goal is to ensure that the communication between the two stay open, in order to keep improving the quality of product for the customer.

“Almonds are a great source of protein, so for the company, blending the chocolate and the almonds together is an essential piece of giving something to the consumer that is beneficial to them, but also sweet,” she said.

Almond Alliance Helps Growers with Advocacy

Almond Alliance Lent a Hand on Tariff Relief

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Like many agricultural sectors, almond growers have also been affected by recent tariff wars. However, almond growers have a true friend in the Modesto-based Almond Alliance.

“We are definitely an advocacy organization, that is the core of what we do,” said Elaine Trevino, president of the Almond Alliance.

Elaine Trevino

“The Almond Alliance educates our legislators, their department officials and cabinet about issues that are important to the almond industry. It is very critical that our elected officials, specifically the urban [ones] that are not familiar with agriculture, understand agriculture. They need to understand … the inputs and the natural resources needed for agriculture, and also understand the best practices that we put into place to be good corporate and small businesses,” Trevino said.

“Obviously with almonds, you have hulls and shells and the biomass that comes with almonds, and so we focus on all aspects of that,” she explained.

Almond growers are being affected by tariffs increases into China. Beginning on April 2nd, the first 232 retaliatory tariffs was seen that affected China. Since then, our turkey has also been affected by the tariffs.

The almond industry exports 67 percent of its production to more than 100 countries.

“Looking at export markets and how they impact the industry is critical. Secretary Purdue came out with the mitigation package,” Trevino said.

The almond industry fought very hard to be included in direct payments. While many say it’s just three cents a pound, the allocation to almonds was $63.3 million.

“It’s our intention that the alliance fight for every penny of that goes back to the growers, and if they are not eligible for the direct payments, then we’ll make sure that they receive it through market promotion that will help move their product and hopefully get those prices back up if they haven’t been affected,” Trevino said.

Almond Export Diversification Helps During Tariff War

Overseas Markets are Vast for Almond Industry

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Diversification is a strength, Richard Waycott, president of the Almond Board of California, told California Ag Today recently. The Almond Board of California is a nonprofit organization that administers a grower enacted federal marketing order under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When it comes to any losses due to a tariff war in China, the almonds can be redirected to other countries.

“It’s fortunate to be as diversified as we are. Always a strength of this industry is the diversification of our overseas markets,” Waycott said. “I think whatever volume we ultimately do lose—if we do lose volume to China—can be redirected and absorbed by other markets.”

The USDA has opened up a direct payment program to the almond industry if growers were to lose any money in a tariff war.

As those programs were announced, by far the largest piece of the pie, $6 billion, initially was directed to the soybean and corn growers and livestock, while the specialty crops were completely left out of it.

“We got together with the Almond Alliance of California and some of our industry members made a very concerted effort while there was still time to do so before the rules around these programs and those that got to participate were set in stone and were able to convince the powers that be … to open up to the direct payment program to almonds, and the sweet cherry industry did the same,” Waycott explained

Waycott also commented on the epic frost that hit almonds this past spring. And he is not sure of the impact on the crop.

“We realized that we don’t understand the impact of frost on almonds all that well because we saw one side of the street there was quite a bit of damage, while on the other side there was no damage. So I think there’s mother nature at work here that, you know, we don’t necessarily completely understand,” Waycott said.

Lessening Negative Feelings Over Trade War

Walnut Processors Maintain Optimism

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke with Paul Wenger, past president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. He farms 700 acres of almonds and walnuts in Stanislaus County. He said that California Farmers and other stakeholders of the industry need to be less negative about the current trade war with China.

Almond and Walnut Grower Paul Wenger

“The more we talk negatively, the more that negative things are going to happen,” he said. “As I talked to walnut processors. They’re optimistic. That’s good news. I’ve talked to some walnut processors and said, ‘Well, what’s going to happen this year?’ We shouldn’t expect much as far as prices.”

“Marketing is always a self-fulfilling prophecy and it’s more psychology than it is anything,” Wenger said. “We are one of the largest producers now. Certainly, China is the largest producer. But China had a terrible crop and so they need walnuts, and so strange things can happen and the Chinese are always one that can bend the rules when they need.”

“We know that’s why President Trump has been going after China supposedly over some of these intellectual properties. Certainly, those aren’t the things that hurt agriculture, but we in agriculture are paying the price as we look at these countervailing tariffs that are coming on,” Wenger said.

Wenger explained that the Chinese know that, throughout the Midwest, it was the farm vote that helped and the rural states that helped bring home a victory for the president, so they’re going to go after President Trump.

A large amount of product was sold last season at a low price.

“We just go through the Affordable Care Act and then the port slowdown on the 2015 crop, which went into the 2016 crop, which was a little better We got a little bit better than 2017 crop was a good year for us,” Wenger said. ‘So you’re looking at a pretty good ’18 and now this happens.”