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Environmental Stewardship Tour Showcased Almond Lifecycle
The Almond Board’s 14th annual Environmental Stewardship Tour in May showcased the lifecycle of an almond orchard — from the importance of state-of-the-art breeding techniques all the way to the care of a mature orchard. Duarte Nursey in Hughson hosted the tour, which was attended by more than 50 attendees from local, state and federal regulatory agencies, along with media, elected officials and various almond industry members. Gabriele Ludwig, the Almond Board’s Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, John Duarte of Duarte Nursery and Almond Board’s President & CEO Richard Waycott explain the lifecycle of an almond orchard at the 14th annual Environmental Stewardship Tour. Almond Board Environmental Committee Chair Rob Kiss greeted the attendees and noted this was the first time the annual tour had featured a nursery. “Our goal is to show the lifecycle of an orchard in order to give you, as regulators, a better understanding of all of the factors that go into producing almonds.” The rootstock selected, the almond variety chosen by the grower, the irrigation system, soil pest management and insect management are all important factors in managing the production of almonds, explained Kiss. Host John Duarte and Duarte Nursery’s Director of Research Dr. Javier Castillon led a tour through Dry Creek Labs, noting the clean rooms offer the perfect environment for clonally propagating rootstock from tissue culture. “With clonal rootstocks you will see increased uniformity, higher disease resistance, larger more vigorous trees and increased yields,” said Castillon. By using the USDA-run Plant Material Center, Duarte nursery tries to start off with virus-free trees, which improves the long-term health of the orchard, noted Duarte. To highlight how genetics can play a role in managing soil borne diseases, the tour next visited orchards managed by Scott Long from Pacific Coat Producers. These soils contain Armillaria (oak root fungus) which is a devastating disease that persists in the soil for many years and for which there is no cure, though soil fumigation may help. The tour visited a rootstock trial to assess whether any have resistance to Armillaria. UCCE farm advisor David Doll said the trial was monitoring root infection and tree mortality and noted it took seven years before symptoms of Armillaria showed up. Doll also highlighted the partnership in research between growers, UC extension and grower organizations, such as the Almond Board of California, to conduct research on how to better grow almonds. Ron Nydam of Waterford Irrigation Company discussed the preparation for a new almond orchard going in next to Duarte’s home and the importance of irrigation design and installation based on the soil type, availability of water (frequency and how delivered), frost risks and other factors. While a drip system may be more water-use efficient, for many soils, microsprinklers are a better choice for water penetration. To ensure optimal irrigation, soil moisture monitors gauge the amount of water needed to accelerate growth. This method keeps the trees hydrated and reduces stress. “The younger trees don’t take nearly the amount of water that a mature orchard needs," pointed out Nydam. Gabriele Ludwig, the Almond Board’s Director, Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, told guests the Board has been funding almond breeding program research for over 40 years. “The varieties and rootstocks relied upon by almond growers are largely influenced by long-term breeding research by University of California, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service,” she said, “and then the efforts by UC Cooperative Extension to monitor how the rootstocks and varieties do in the real world of the orchard. Traits of the rootstocks and the varieties can help deal with some important environmental issues.” Unfortunately, as UC Davis almond breeder Dr. Tom Gradziel, noted, it takes at least 10 years of testing in the field before a variety may be deemed acceptable for use by growers.
Varroa Mite Top Research Priority at Almond Board
The Almond Board’s Gabriele Ludwig and Bob Curtis attended a national summit on the Varroa mite in February that assembled leading researchers and experts on Varroa mite and honey bee health. The summit focused on Varroa mite biology; breeding Varroa resistance in bees; the impact of honey bee nutrition on tolerance to Varroa mite and diseases associated with Varroa; mite control options and miticide resistance management; and outreach efforts for current and new Varroa mite tools and management.
Magic Comes to The Almond Conference Gala Dinner
Mark your calendars and buy your tickets! “The Futurist” Adam Trent will wow attendees with his skill, personality and humor at the 45th annual Almond Conference Gala Dinner. Trent is a pivotal member of the best-selling magic show in Broadway history, “The Illusionists,” which sold $2.1 million in one week followed by a smash-hit U.S. and world tour. His headline illusion show is said to have mass appeal not seen since the touring days of David Copperfield. Returning to his roots as a solo headliner, “The Futurist” will bring his best acts from the Broadway show along with never-before seen material. Trent’s performance promises to be an immersive entertainment extravaganza of magic, comedy and music that’s perfect for the entire audience. According to the New York Theater Guide, Adam Trent is “so amazing, it’s hard to put into words. Your eyes will deceive you, your heartbeat will race, and your mind will be blown!” Trent has frequent TV appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Today Show” and countless others, along with his own 10-episode TV series which premiered May 2017 on Red Bull TV. The Almond Conference takes place December 5-7, 2017 at the Sacramento Convention Center. Tickets for the gala dinner are $85 per person and can be purchased by visiting www.almondconference.com/.
Almonds and Wellness - Mark Dreher, Chairman, Nutrition Research Committee
Since 1995, the Almond Board of California (ABC) has invested more than $15 million in sound science to better understand the human health effects of almonds and to correct misinformation that existed in the public arena. Almonds had long been defined by their total fat content of 50+%; however, it has become widely known that there are “good” fats and “bad” fats, and that there is a difference between the fat and cholesterol contents of plant- and animal-based foods. Ongoing nutrition research in North America, Europe and Asia adds to the existing body of more than 100 published papers on almond science, which are utilized by the ABC in global marketing outreach programs to promote the consumption of almonds. During this past crop year, in strategic planning by both the Nutrition Research Committee and ABC Board of Directors, a longer-term goal was set to focus more on nutrition research, specifically wellness and vitality, than on health conditions (heart health, diabetes and weight management). In response to that directive, the Nutrition Research Committee is very pleased to announce that it has selected two very well-respected research groups to initiate research trials to validate almonds as a nutritious snack in human clinical trials in Korea. These trials have just begun, and we look forward to reporting the results when they are complete in two years. Sincerely, Mark Dreher, Chairman Nutrition Research Committee
Spring Monitoring and Control of Leaffooted Bug
Spring is a critical time to monitor and control overwintering leaffooted bugs that are moving into and feeding on developing almond nuts, resulting in crop losses from fruit drop. This is particularly important in more susceptible almond varieties such as Fritz and Aldrich, and when the orchard has a history of leaffooted bug infestations. Adult leaffooted bugs overwinter in sheltered areas such as palm trees, junipers, pomegranates, citrus, olives and other popular overwintering food sources. Growers should monitor orchards postbloom and treat as necessary with a good contact material to knock down adult leaffooted populations. UC Berkeley Extension entomologist Dr. Kent Daane said the key to understanding the potential for leaffooted bug damage in 2014 is to look back at 2013. If overwintering sites had large leaffooted bug populations in the fall, it is likely the pest will crop up in neighboring almond orchards without the benefit of a winter cold snap to kill off those overwintering pests. Cold temperatures and rainfall from December to February can reduce overwintering leaffooted bug populations. Still, where there is a history of the pest, growers from postbloom through April should monitor their orchards for presence of the pest and treat early to prevent fruit drop. “Early control is absolutely vital to get those overwintering populations so that nuts don’t drop,” Dr. Daane said. Monitoring in the south San Joaquin Valley typically should begin in mid-February and continue through April farther north into the Sacramento Valley. There are not yet pheromones on the market to monitor leaffooted bugs, and sweep or beating tray samples are not reliable because adult insects scatter before they can be detected. Daane suggested using a long pole in mature orchards to beat the side and top of the canopy and watch for adult flyers. “If you are near an overwintering population source and are worried based on past history about leaffooted bug, it is a good idea to sample once a week for four or five weeks once bloom is done and nuts are set,” he said. Varieties such as Fritz and Aldrich are more susceptible to leaffooted bug damage, although the exact reasons are not understood. Growers with those orchards should be particularly vigilant this time of year. If pole sampling reveals adult flyers, treat immediately with a newer generation pyrethroid or neonicotinoid. A single application of these newer materials will usually control the pest. “Most importantly, use a material with good knockdown activity because if you keep them alive, it can quickly result in crop damage,” Dr. Daane said.
Are You Ready for The Almond Conference?
The 42nd Annual Almond Conference is just around the corner. Don’t miss out on the almond social event of the year! The Almond Conference will be held Dec. 9–11 at the Sacramento Convention Center; hotels are filling up quickly, so make sure you book your room today. Growers and allied industry members can register for this free event and find hotel information at AlmondConference.com. The event will kick off on Tuesday, Dec. 9, with symposia featuring timely industry topics including irrigation, almond quality, pest management, exporter regulations and a state-of-the-industry address. The day will wrap up with an Opening Reception on the trade show floor, sponsored by the premier sponsor, BASF. Six-minute research updates will take place on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, offering attendees the chance to hear from Almond Board of California (ABC)–funded researchers about the most recent production, environmental, and food quality and safety research. The Poster Session will grant time for attendees to engage with and ask researchers specific questions related to their projects. Additionally, special projects from 2014 Almond Leadership Program participants will be presented. Wednesday and Thursday symposia will cover a variety of hot-item topics, including water, food safety, policy, ABC marketing efforts, pollination, digital media outreach techniques and pest management. Conference attendees will be among some of the first to view and receive newly available resources, including the Honey Bee and Stockpile Best Management Practices guides and the “2014 Almond Almanac.” These publications are available at the Almond Board booth, found on the trade show floor. Rounding out the Conference is the annual Gala Dinner. This year’s Gala Dinner entertainment will include comedian Mike Hammer, ventriloquist Taylor Mason and master of ceremonies Juston McKinney. With their impressive résumés, this trio of talent is sure to have attendees laughing out loud. And, to top off the night, the Conference will feature, for the first time ever, a local cover band to engage attendees of all ages with toe-tapping fun! Aside from unforgettable entertainment, the Gala is the perfect occasion for industry members to socialize and catch up with old friends. The Almond Conference would not be possible without the generous support of exhibitors and sponsors. As a result of the perpetual support of these bighearted sponsors, the Conference is able to operate on a cost-neutral basis. A big thank-you to the following metal sponsors: BASF (premier), Syngenta (platinum), Borrell USA (gold), Tomra Sorting Solutions (silver), Satake (copper) and JKB Energy (green). Be sure to register for this exciting and info-packed event right away. Visit AlmondConference.com to see the complete agenda and to register.
Almond Nursery Sales: 8.33 Million Trees
The results of the survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of nurseries that sell almond trees were released Aug. 1. The totals are only for those nurseries reported. According to the survey, at least 8.33 million almond trees were sold between July 2013 and July 2014, representing a 25% increase from the number sold the previous year. Of those sold in the 2013–2014 crop year, 72% went into new plantings, 24% were in replanted almond orchards, and 4% were utilized to replace trees within existing orchards. The survey was conducted at the request of the Almond Board of California to quantify the number of new almond trees being shipped by principal nurseries between June 2013 and June 2014. The results of this survey allow the industry to project new plantings and replantings — a vital tool for crop forecasting, market planning, technical and regulatory affairs input and research priorities. Using the NASS Almond Acreage Survey planting average of 125 trees per acre, almost 67,000 acres of almonds were planted between June 2013 and May 2014 — 26,000 of these were Nonpareil variety. Of the total 67,000 acres planted, 48,000 acres are categorized as new almond orchard plantings and 16,000 acres were replanted orchards that had previously been in almonds. The remaining trees sold were in-orchard replacements for trees that had been lost within existing almond orchards. A 100% nursery participation is hoped for when the survey is repeated next spring. If you have any questions regarding the 2014 California Almond Nursery Sales Report, please contact Sue Olson.
UC Report on Chlorpyrifos Identifies Critical Uses, Research Gaps
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program has released a comprehensive report on chlorpyrifos that identifies its critical uses and the specific research, Extension and policy gaps that should be addressed to ensure safe, effective use of the insecticide. The report, “Identifying and Managing Critical Uses of Chlorpyrifos Against Key Pests of Alfalfa, Almonds, Citrus and Cotton,” was commissioned by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR). Chlorpyrifos is a common insecticide used under the trade names Lorsban and Lock-on, and in generic formulations to control ants, stinkbugs, aphids, whiteflies and other pests. The report details the insecticide’s use patterns as compared to other pest control tactics, such as resistant varieties, mating disruption, field sanitation and other insecticides. To gather input for the report, four crop teams were formed with industry leaders from alfalfa, almonds, citrus and cotton. The almond crop team included Almond Board staff, researchers, farm advisors, pest control advisers and growers. “Our industry teams told us that chlorpyrifos is an essential component of their IPM programs,” said Pete Goodell, Ph.D, UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) advisor for integrated pest management and the report’s principal investigator. This is particularly true for the critical uses identified by the crop teams; of those identified, leaffooted bugs and stinkbugs emerged as pests against which there are no desirable alternatives to chlorpyrifos. “The teams believe decision-support tools would be useful to help pest control advisers and growers recognize the critical-use scenarios that require its application,” added Dr. Goodell. The teams asked that CDPR develop comprehensive, science-based information about the specific risk pathways posed by chlorpyrifos and to work with the industry to develop any new application safety measures. The teams also asked that new human health data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency be considered in future CDPR regulatory decision-making to ensure that the most current data available informs its decisions. For the second phase of the project, UC IPM will hold outreach meetings in 2015 and 2016 for pest control advisers, UCCE farm advisors, commodity group representatives and farmers who grow alfalfa, almonds, citrus and cotton. The report can be found on the CDPR website.
Tony Campos, 2017 Almond Achievement Award Winner
From left: Kent Stenderup (vice chair, ABC), Tony Campos (award recipient), Mike Mason (chairman, ABC) and Richard Waycott (president and CEO, ABC) Tony Campos, Campos Brothers Farms, accepted the 2017 Almond Achievement Award winner at the Almond Conference in Sacramento. Tony has been involved with Almond Board of California (ABC) for almost three decades, serving on multiple committees, including eight years as an ABC Board Member. “Tony is someone in our industry that has dedicated his life to promoting, processing and developing markets for almonds,” said Lori Coburn, Hughson Nut, Inc., who nominated Campos. “He has been involved in the industry in different capacities for decades as a grower and processor.” Campos began growing almonds in 1971 with his brothers, Esteban and Fermin. In 1981, the brothers built the first Campos Brothers Farms almond huller, promising premium-quality processing. Campos has served volunteer positions with organizations such as ABC, Raisin Bargaining Association, Raisin Administrative Committee, National Farmers Organization, California Bean Advisory Board and Fresno County Farm Bureau. Tony and his family also support philanthropic organizations such as Valley Children’s Hospital, Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno, Basque Cultural Center and Caruthers High School. Throughout Campos’ nearly 30 years serving the almond industry, he has participated in the following committees: International Committee, ten years ABC Board of Directors, eight years Administration and Finance Committee, seven years Public Relations and Advertising Committee, two years Strategic Planning Committee, two years In addition to his service to the almond community, Campos has been involved in advancing the industry’s technologies and innovations. He has worked on plant engineering research and processing design research that utilizes the newest technology to improve capacities and qualities in processing. “The Campos Brothers have shared industry processing information back and forth openly over the years,” said Coburn. “He is a leader in the industry and it is great to see him being recognized for his contributions.” Since 2011, the Almond Achievement Award has been awarded to an industry or allied-industry member who has been an integral part of the California Almond industry through long-term service, contributions or innovations. Past Almond Achievement Award recipients include Dave Phippen, Ned Ryan, Martin Pohl, Joe McIlvaine, Dave Baker and Jim Jasper. Nominations are accepted between August and October each year.