Whole Orchard Recycling

Whole Almond Orchard Recyling is A Next Generation Farming Practice

By  Tim Hammerich with California Ag Today

The Almond Board of California recently announced their $5.9 million investment into next-generation farming practices. The Board is exploring some of these initiatives  as they offer insights into challenges faced by California growers.

Josette Lewis, Director of Agricultural Affairs for the Almond Board of California, says one area these investments have really paid off recently has been in something called whole orchard recycling.

“This is when an orchard gets to the end of its life and the trees are taken out. They’re chipped and deep-ripped into the soil, and then disced over to put that entire orchard biomass, which is a huge amount of woody material, down into the soil…

“We’ve been doing research for quite a number of years that shows that that can improve soil quality: things like water holding capacity, and soil organic matter. It does not seem to pose a particular problem for replant disease or soil-borne pathogens. But very importantly, that research this last year paid off in terms of the California Department of Food and Agriculture has decided to include whole orchard recycling in their healthy soils incentive program.”

Lewis says this incentive program will provide dollars to help growers with the costs of recycling their orchards, which also gives them this benefit of healthier soils long term.

Consistent Production is Key in Almonds

Keep Almond Farming Simple and to the Point

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Franz Neiderholzer is a UCANR Farm Advisor based in Colusa County and he also works with  growers  farming almonds in Sutter and Yuba Counties.

He says consistent production is the key.“Once the orchard has been laid out and the pruning’s been selected, an you’ve grown trees to fill their space, how do you maintain good production year in and year out for a mature orchard? Consistent production is your goal,” Neiderholzer said

Neiderholzer explains the steps toward good production. “You provide the resources the trees need, set them up, but don’t try to force it,” Neiderholzer said.

“Mother Nature is going to give you the crop that the weather conditions at bloom will allow and whatever environmental conditions occur throughout the rest of the season. But there is no silver bullet. You need to maintain consistent practices and spend money on good bees, an adequate crop protection practices,” Neiderholzer

“Do the fundamentals and the rest of it should follow. So again you need adequate pollination and nut set, careful irrigation in nutrition and protecting the canopy through crop protection practices and adequate nutrition and irrigation,” he said.

Almond Growers Concern About Trade Issues

Farmer Joe Del Bosque Checks In Regarding Almond Season


By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Joe Del Bosque is a diversified grower in Western Fresno and  Merced counties.

He noted the almond crop was light this season mostly due to a wet spring that fouled up pollination. “Yes, I think the crop was a little lighter than normal, particularly in some varieties. Some did okay. Some did pretty normal and some were lighter.” Del Bosque said.

And del Bosque said that pest pressure was not particularly heavy.

“The few reports that I’ve seen on worm damage didn’t look too bad. So I think we’re, we’re going to come out okay with pests this past season,” he noted.

And trade issues, particularly with China, continue to be a big concern.

“For almond growers that’s probably our major concerns aside from water. So we hope that they will certainly solve this trade issue so that trade flows more freely,” Del Bosque said.

“It’s not that we haven’t been able to sell our almonds, because we have been able to sell them, but there have probably been some restrictions in the trade and maybe that might have been reflected in the prices,” he said.

“Maybe we should be getting higher prices than we have if we didn’t have these, these trade issues looming over us. And I think the, the worst part about the trade issues is probably the uncertainty of how long we’re going to go with these tariffs,” Del Bosque noted.

New Cost Estimates for Almonds Available

UC ANR Updates Cost Estimates for Growing Almonds

By Pam Kan-Rice UCANR Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach

UC Agricultural Issues Center has released new studies estimating the cost and returns of establishing an almond orchard and producing almonds for three growing regions of California.

“These cost studies are valuable for agricultural producers all along the continuum – growers considering entering into a new crop production business, less experienced growers, and those with decades of experience,” said Emily Symmes, UC Cooperative Extension integrated pest management advisor for the Sacramento Valley. “The information in these cost studies allows growers to evaluate their production practices and associated costs relative to an exemplary hypothetical orchard specific to their geographic region, and can help with development of business models, crop insurance and lending.”

In 2018, almonds ranked third among California commodities, with almond growers receiving nearly $5.5 billion in cash receipts.

The cost analyses are based on hypothetical farming operations of well-managed almond orchards, using cultural practices common to the region. Local growers, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and supporting agricultural representatives provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the studies.

“The recent almond updates for the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys reflect costs associated with the continually evolving conditions facing agriculture,” said Symmes, who co-authored the almond cost studies. “Some of the notable updates include labor, irrigation and pest management costs – all integral to producing and delivering a high-quality crop.”

The researchers based one study in the Sacramento Valley, one in the northern San Joaquin Valley and the other in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

The southern SJV study is based on an orchard that uses double-line drip irrigation, whereas the other two locations use microsprinkler irrigation. All are multi-year studies, estimating costs from removal of the previous orchard, through almond orchard re-establishment and the production years. The economic life of the orchards used in these analyses is 23 to 25 years.

Navel orangeworm (NOW) is a major pest in almond production; Symmes and her co-authors describe in detail the pesticide applications and winter sanitation methods for each location for NOW control and include the costs.

The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for orchard establishment, almond production, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. A ranging analysis table shows net returns over a range of prices and yields.

The new studies are titled:

  • Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Almonds in the Sacramento Valley – 2019
  • Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Almonds in the Northern San Joaquin Valley – 2019
  • Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Almonds in the Southern San Joaquin Valley – 2019

The studies are available for free download at the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu. Sample cost of production studies for many other commodities are also available on the website.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact Donald Stewart at the UC Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651 or destewart@ucdavis.edu. To contact a local UC Cooperative Extension advisor, find the UCCE office in your county at http://ucanr.edu/County_Offices. The Agricultural Issues Center is a statewide program of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources brings the power of UC research in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition and youth development to local communities to improve the lives of all Californians. Learn more at ucanr.edu.


Almond Farm of Future Coming

Almond Board Fueling Farm of the Future with $5.9 Million Research Investment

California almond farmers continue a long history of using research as the catalyst to evolve their practices, continuously challenging themselves to do more.

On Tuesday, Dec. 10th The Almond Board of California (ABC) today announced an investment of $5.9 million dollars in 85 independent research projects exploring next-generation farming practices. With this commitment, the California almond community has invested $89 million in research since 1973 to build a foundation of knowledge on responsible farming practices, food quality and safety and almonds’ impact on human health.


A tangible example of the almond community’s commitment to continuous improvement, the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals, launched in January 2019, will leverage this research as farmers strive to meet measurable objectives with the goal of growing almonds in better, safer and healthier ways. The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals Roadmap, released today, outlines the almond community’s sustainability journey in four goal areas, as well as the metrics that the industry’s progress will be measured against.

“The California almond community takes a long-term view of success based on respect for the land and local communities. Earlier this year, the California almond community set four ambitious goals aligning with our vision to make life better by what we grow and how we grow,” says Holly King, chair of the Almond Board of California. “The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals build on decades of progress, fueled by research. Fulfilling these commitments will require hard work, dedication and resources, including funding independent research to test new technologies and sharing the results as these approaches are proven.”

Almond Alliance of California Works For Industry

Almond Alliance Releases the 2019 Advocacy Report

A successful advocacy organization relies on teamwork and collaboration. It takes all of us working together to get to a good place for your business.  Each year we are dealt a new set of challenges and each year we face them with new strategies and tenacity.  While our industry is diverse, we are bound by the commitment to succeed, educate and prevail in this ever-changing political landscape.

The 2019 legislative session was one of the most bizarre and active we have seen in recent years. Our advocacy team worked diligently and tirelessly to defend the industry against harmful legislation and promote logical and practical perspectives when implementing federal and state regulatory changes. 
The Almond Alliance continues to advocate for and defend programs that help in the advancement of our industry.  The Advocacy Report provides a summary of these bills, key policies and issues for your information and review. 
As always, we appreciate your support and invite you to contact us for any questions, comments or to discuss policy and legislation.
Click Here, for your copy of the 2019 Advocacy Report.
Click Here, to view our Advocacy Video.

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.

In 2017/2018 Haviland had larger trials that confirmed their previous results. “The earlier trial showed a 40 to 50% reduction in damage, while the later trial on larger acreage showed a 60 to 70% reduction in damage, which was a positive return on investment to the grower,” he said.  In 2018, Haviland conducted the first UC trial on sprayable pheromone products.  They did not work very well.

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.”