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Communication Prior to Bloom Key to an Effective Pollination Season

The first step toward a successful pollination season is communication between the beekeeper and grower/owner to ensure expectations are fully understood. Growers should contact beekeepers as early as possible before the pollination season to discuss their requirements. Growers who do not have an established relationship with a beekeeper can refer to the Pollination Directory on the Almond Board of California website. This database includes both beekeepers and bee brokers. Growers and their beekeepers should outline and mutually agree on expectations of each other to avoid misunderstandings. Communication on pesticide use during bloom, for instance, should be a fundamental consideration. That could mean outlining a pesticide plan that specifies which pest control materials might be used. Grower and beekeeper should agree on which products can be applied if a treatment is deemed necessary. During bloom, when applications are imminent, establish a line of communication throughout the chain of all parties involved in pollinating almonds and/or applying pesticides to orchards so they are informed ahead of time. Growers may want beekeepers to register with the appropriate county agricultural commissioner. By registering with the ag commissioner and providing the location of colonies, beekeepers can request an advance notice of applications of pesticides labeled as toxic to bees within a mile of the colonies. Beyond pesticides, other elements that should be understood are the responsibilities of the grower and the beekeeper in these areas: The number of frames of honey bees, including an average and minimum frame count; Date and location of placement in orchard; Ambient temperature and time of day at inspection site in the field; Payment amount, terms, deposit, progress payment and final payment; Accessibility of colonies to beekeeper; and When bees are to be removed from the orchard. A sample of a pollination contract template can be accessed at ProjectApism.org by clicking on the ‘BMPs’ tab, then ‘Business Management.’ This template can be customized to meet individual needs and requirements.  
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // Almond Bloom and Bees

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.  
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // About the Almond Industry

Almonds Are America’s New Favorite Nut

The Washington Post’s “Wonkblog” reported last week that “America has a new favorite nut,” citing USDA figures1 that the country’s appetite for almonds has grown by more than 220% since 2005 — much faster than demand for pecans, walnuts, macadamias, pistachios, cashews or peanuts.    In fact, the article notes, almonds have surpassed peanuts in popularity, as “in 2012 Americans ate more almonds per capita than shelled and unshelled snack peanuts combined (not including peanut butter)2.”   The article attributes almonds’ growing popularity to nutrition research and changing consumer perceptions of fat, falling demand for meat, an increasing interest in plant-based protein sources, and increasing demand for convenient, satisfying and nutritious snacks. It adds, “The Almond Board of California happily touts the nut's nutritional benefits prominently on its website. No wonder no other nut is considered as nutritious by consumers."   The tone of the article is very positive, with the exception of a link to a recent Mother Jones article that says almond milk is inefficient, and it’s better to eat whole almonds. That Mother Jones article, by the way, has been hotly debated by other media sources such as Slate and Gawker, giving almond milk an increasing amount of attention as sales continue to climb.   Good news about fat. U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that the majority of your fat intake be unsaturated.  One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat. 1USDA Economic Research Service 2013 Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook 2USDA Economic Research Service 2012 Food Availability Per Capita Data  
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // About the Almond Board

Almond Board at IFT 2014 — Part Science, Part Trend, All Almond

Trade shows, specifically food expos, are important events for professionals involved in food science and technology. Many attendees return year after year because they know food expos are the best place to see and learn about the newest products, trends and technology as well as meet with the companies who provide them. This past June, in New Orleans, the Almond Board of California (ABC) participated in what many consider one of the most important food expos in North America — Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Exp. It was ABC's opportunity to showcase California Almonds and educate some of the nation's most influential food scientists and foodservice industry leaders.   During IFT, ABC distributed the latest research and collateral material, conducted live culinary demonstrations, and held informational conversations with key target audience members. California Almonds were showcased in samples at ABC’s expo booth, one-on-one California Almond Solutions Sessions (CASS), in an ABC-sponsored “Cooking Up Science” demo by research Chef John Csukor, and in two poster sessions presented by ABC’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Karen Lapsley. While each event was well received, it was Chef John Csukor’s one-on-one CASS events that generated a lot of excitement. During these sessions, Chef John demonstrated the versatility and functionality of almonds and their many forms based on the specific interest and expertise of each attendee. A few of the on-trend almond recipes shared included Brewed Almond Tea, Almond Crème and the popular Savory Almond Spice Bar.   IFT 2014 was a successful event for ABC. Several hundred people visited the booth, and the California Almond Solution Session time slots were filled each day. IFT 2015 will be in Chicago next year and ABC will again showcase almonds and educate what is often a much larger audience than the 16,000 people who attended in New Orleans; in fact the estimated attendance will more than double.
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // About the Almond Board

Study Finds Almonds May Benefit Athletic Performance

August 14, 2014   A recent study published in the Journal of International Sports Nutrition suggested that almonds' unique combination of protein (6g per oz), fiber (4g per oz), good fats* and vitamins may have benefits for athletic performance in highly trained athletes.1 Researchers randomly assigned participants (10 Chinese professional male athletes with an average age of 22 years who had been training for an average of 6.3 years) to consume either whole almonds (75g per day, roughly 2.5 oz)  or isocaloric cookies as part of two self-controlled diets for four weeks each. They had a two- week washout period in between, during their annual winter training and then underwent performance testing.   Their findings were as follows: After each four weeks of the daily almond consumption diet, athletes cycled 1.7 km longer during a time trial compared to the start of the study, compared with an increase of 0.6 km when the cookies were consumed. There were no differences in steady state exercise performance between the diets. Researchers noted that the baseline measurements may have been partially affected by high heat and humidity. Almonds, but not cookies, led to higher carbohydrate and lower fat oxidation during the time trial compared to baseline, and maintained a higher blood glucose level but showed a lower blood free fatty acid after the time trial. This suggests that almonds might help athletes mobilize more previously reserved carbohydrates rather than breaking down fat as an energy source during intense exercise. Almond consumption led to higher vitamin E and higher total antioxidant capacity compared to cookies. No other antioxidant effects were observed. Although the study was of short duration and conducted in a small sample of highly trained athletes, the nutrient profile of almonds makes them an ideal fit for fueling healthy, active lifestyles.   *Good news about almonds and heart health: Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat. 1Yi M, et al. The effect of almond consumption of elements of endurance exercise performance in trained athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2014; 11:18.  
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // About the Almond Board

Irrigation Strategies, Pest Management Highlighted on Tour for Regulators

Nearly 40 state, federal and local regulators learned of the challenges and trade-offs this extreme water-short year are forcing upon almond growers such as Newman grower/processor Stewart & Jasper Orchards, host of the Almond Board of California’s Environmental Committee’s 10thannual Stewardship Tour.   Growers Jim and son Jason Jasper, farm manager Ray Henriques and the company’s independent agronomist and PCA Wes Asai explained some of the technologies and strategies Stewart & Jasper uses as part of its sustainable farming operation. “We have adopted sustainability in all facets of our operation,” Jim Jasper said.   In the orchard, for instance, trapping and monitoring determine the timing of pest management sprays, and reduced-risk formulations of pesticides are used, even though they are often more expensive and less efficacious.   “We are making sacrifices going with lower-VOC formulation pesticides but it's better for the environment and we know eventually everything is going that way,” Asai added.   Regulators were particularly interested in Stewart & Jasper’s irrigation strategies, given the severe curtailment to the growers’ surface water deliveries this year and lack of acceptable-quality groundwater.   Jasper acknowledged that the drought is forcing tough decisions upon their typical farming practices. The natural beneficial insectary created by Stewart & Jasper’s usual cover crop in row middles, for instance, has been mowed to preserve every precious drop of water for almond crops this year and to protect yields in future years as well.   Stewart & Jasper will likely apply only half the optimal water this year to its orchard. Henriques explained that Stewart & Jasper will continue to rely on monitoring technologies and ET to schedule irrigations but reduce the amount of water applied with each irrigation in proportion to reduced water supplies.   Regulators attended from several agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Department of Pesticide Regulation and state and regional air and water boards.    Department of Pesticide Regulation environmental scientist Ann Schaffner said the tour offered a good opportunity to see an almond farming operation firsthand.   ”It is really helpful to get a sense of the challenges that the growers face,” Schaffner said. “It’s enlightening to see some of the many innovative things they are doing.”   Stewart & Jasper is a third-generation farming operation founded in 1948, which today has grown to include 2,000 acres of tree crops and a vertically integrated operation that hulls, shells and processes for another 150 growers in the nearby area.  
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // About the Almond Industry
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