Saturday, October 13, 2018

Final House Call for The Almond Doctor



He guided almond growers through deep freezes, rainstorms, drought and tree diseases. He dispensed sage advice about combating tree diseases and feeding crucial nutrients to the soil.

Often dubbed The Almond Doctor – a title he liked to downplay despite the catchy title on the blog – David Doll has written about everything almonds during his tenure as University of California Cooperative Extension pomologist and almond expert in Merced County. His column featured eye-catching titles such as “Got Voles? Perhaps anthraquinone is the answer” or straight forward titles like “Almond Frost Warning and Protection Methods - 2018.”
  

“David exemplifies the best in cooperative extension work. His ability to communicate and outreach to all types of growers and those in the industry is unparalleled,” says Marcia Gibbs, director of the Sustainable Cotton Project and San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project. “He makes folks comfortable with his easy style and has an amazing ability to answer questions, supplying insights from not just his own experience butbacking his answers with scientific data on the spot. David is one of the best advisors in the UCCE system.” 

Gibbs has worked with David since he started with UCCE more than a decade ago. The farm advisor has become a fixture at almond field days and steadily earned the respect of growers during his tenure.  He is a major draw at field days.

“David is truly an innovative thinker who understands what growers need to know, always tailoring his talks to meet their needs.His willingness to step across county lines to meet the needs of Fresno and Madera County growers as well as those in Merced shows his commitment to the extension model.” Gibbs says.

“At almond meetings during the growing season and we can always count on David to find the time to come and speak with growers. When David is on the agenda, we can count on a good turnout of interested growers with great questions. Our meeting evaluations always rank David at the top of the agenda. Growers know they can bring their damaged nuts, tree branches and pressing pest or disease issues and David will get them the information they need. He follows up and provides a high level of technical expertise, tempered with a good understanding of the pressures facing California farmers.”

 

Doll will make his final Almond Field Day appearance on Wednesday at West Valley Hulling, 45475 W. Panoche Road, Firebaugh. The free meeting with be from 10 a.m. to noon. Growers also will hear from Kris Tollerup,UC Statewide IPM advisor who will share information on managing navel orangeworm in almonds. Nick Tatarakis, Manager and Steve Malanca, Field Rep at West Valley Hulling will give a short talk about the huller followed by a tour through the facility.

David earned his Bachelor of Sciencedegree in plant biology from Purdue University in 2004. In 2008, he earned a master’s degree in plant pathology from the University of California, Davis. He has specialized in almonds, pistachios, walnuts and urban forestry.

David boasts an extensive bibliography, writing about issues ranging from “Climatic constraints to the potential of Microsphaeropsis amaranthis as a bioherbicide for common waterhemp” to “drought management in almonds.”His California agriculture article contributes include “Biological control program is being developed for brown marmorated stink bug” and “Managing the almond and stone fruit replant disease complex with less soil fumigant.”

“David’s work is of the highest caliber. His ideas and forward thinking are irreplaceable. David has put in endless hours of time helping make UCCE Merced a well-respected source for quality service and information,” Gibbs says.

 David will definitely be missed by Valley almond growers. Don’t miss the opportunity on Wednesday to wish him well on his new adventure.
                        
COTTON FARM TOUR: This popular eventis back, offering a behind-the-scenes look at cotton production. The day-long tour is set for Thursday, October 25. Leading experts and professionals will offer insights about cotton cultivation and processing, addressing issues such as water use, cotton farming practices and the state of the market for Cleaner Cotton™ fiber. Cost is $40 a person and covers bus transportation, a catered lunch at the Cardella Winery in Mendota and snacks and water. The tour starts at 8:15 a.m. at the Best Western Apricot Inn, 46290 West Panoche Road, Firebaugh. Register through the Sustainable Cotton Project’s Eventbrite site.

To reserve a motel room at the special event price, contact the Apricot Inn at
 (559) 659-1444 and ask for “Sustainable Cotton Project — Cotton Farm Tour” rate.

See you there.



Monday, October 8, 2018

Whitefly, Aphids and Honeydew a Big Sticky Issue for Cotton








 The industry worried sticky cotton, which is caused by whiteflies and cotton aphids secreting honeydew and contaminating the lint, would tarnish California’s global reputation for producing California’s high quality cotton.
Growers want to avoid sticky cotton.



A U.S. Department of Agriculture report calls sticky cotton a worldwide problem that is “increasing as cotton processing machinery is refined because high-speed, large-volume processing of lint requires cleaner cotton. Much of the cotton produced in the Western United States is exported, and loss of export markets is a serious threat to the U.S. economy.”


Yes, sticky cotton can slow down or even halt cotton processing at the gin so processors can clean gummed up rollers and combs.

During the 2013 infestation, growers were able to avert disaster and control the whitefly population.

Fortunately for this season, apids and whitefly pressure was relatively under control as the season headed toward defoliation and the fall harvest, according to field scout Damien Jelen. “There were some early signs of sticky cotton but that didn’t last long. Whitefly was worse last year.”
Aphids populate a cotton leaf.

Silverleaf whitefly will leave honeydew on cotton plants.
Whitefly and aphids are such a concern to the cotton industry that the state Department of Food and Agriculture checks for the pest every summer, taking leaf samples in 10 percent of the cotton fields in the Valley.

Ag officials start taking samples the first week of July and compile weekly reports. In the Northern San Joaquin Valley, officials this season visit 60 sites in Fresno County, two in Madera County and 62 in Merced County. The reports give growers an idea of the changes of whitefly numbers over time.

In the Ag Departments’s most recent weekly report covering August 27 to September 7, officials reported:

  •  Of the 600 leaf samples taken in Fresno County, 19 percent of the leaves were infested with silverleaf whitefly nymphs and 4 percent with aphids.One-third of the sample sites had leaves with honeydew and 27 percent with sooty mold.
  • Of the 620 leaf samples taken in Merced County, 5 percent had whitefly and 1 percent aphids. Forty-four percent of the sample sites had leaves with honeydew and 42 percent with sooty mold.
  • Of the 20 leaf samples taken in Madera County, 15 percent of the leaves had whitefly and none had aphids. One of the sites had leaves with honeydew and sooty mold.

 If you don’t think this issue is taken seriously, consider this: Californiagrowers spent $220 million to combat sticky cotton from 1992 to 2001. Studies indicate sticky cotton can result in a price reduction of 3 to 5 cents a pound.

ALMOND FIELD DAY:For one final time, growers will have an opportunity to hear valuable tips from David Doll, the highly regarded almond expert and pomologist with UC Cooperative Extension in Merced County. The “Almond Doctor” is heading overseas to share his almond expertise with the developing markets there. The free event will be Wednesday, October 17. Don’t miss out on theparting advice from the “doctor.” The  meetingwill be from 10 am to 12 noon at West Valley Hulling, 45475 W Panoche Rd. Firebaugh. Growers will hear from Doll and Kris Tollerup,UC Statewide IPM advisor who will share information on managing navel orangeworm in almonds. Nick Tatarakis, Manager and Steve Malanca, Field Rep at West Valley Hulling will give a short talk about the huller followed by a tour through the facility.




COTTON FARM TOUR: This popular eventis back, offering a behind-the-scenes look at cotton production. The day-long tour is set for Thursday, October 25. Leading experts and professionals will offer insights about cotton cultivation and processing, addressing issues such as water use, cotton farming practices and the state of the market for Cleaner Cotton™ fiber. Cost is $40 a person and covers bus transportation, a catered lunch at the Cardella Winery in Mendota and snacks and water. The tour starts at 8:15 a.m. at the Best Western Apricot Inn, 46290 West Panoche Road, Firebaugh. Register through the Sustainable Cotton Project’s Eventbrite site.

To reserve a motel room at the special event price, contact the Apricot Inn at
 (559) 659-1444 and ask for “Sustainable Cotton Project — Cotton Farm Tour” rate.

See you there.



Monday, October 1, 2018

Knock, Knock, Knocking on Almond Tree Branches


 Happy October.
  
It won’t be long before those little goblins and ghosts come knock, knock, knocking on your heavy door, asking for treats or tricks.

Shaking almond trees again could yield  more income.
But by the time Halloween arrives in these parts, the almond harvest should be pretty much wrapped up, says field scout Jenna Mayfield.

“Growers are finished harvesting nonpareils.  Hard shell varieties like Butte and Padre are left,” she says. Those nuts should be off the trees before the end of this month.

In the meantime, Jenna reminds growers to check their recently harvested trees to see if there are still more good almonds left. Even after mechanical shaking, there are nuts that stubbornly cling to branches, refusing to fall to the ground.

“It’s like wasting money,” Jenna points out. “There may be quality nuts still left in the trees.”
Yes, it might be worthwhile for growers to go knock, knock, knocking on the almond tree branches one more time.

Workers use long poles to remove extra almonds on the trees.
Jenna points out growers need to determine the economic benefits between leaving the remaining nuts on the tree or sending crews out with poles to knock down the leftovers. Some growers might have mechanical shakers do the work, especially those already out harvesting the remaining hard shell crops.

Here are some of the benefits this practice:
·         The remaining nuts can serve as winter homes for the dreaded navel orangeworm (NOW).
·         NOW problems translate into extra money spent on pest treatments in the spring.
·         Some of the extra nuts could be sent to the processor and bring in bonus money.
“Growers are weighing this issue,” Jenna says. “A lot believe this practice pays for itself.”

SAVE THE DATES:
ALMOND FIELD DAY:For one final time, growers will have an opportunity to hear valuable tips from David Doll, the highly regarded almond expert and pomologist with UC Cooperative Extension in Merced County. The “Almond Doctor” is heading overseas to try almond farming in Portugal. The free event will be Wednesday, October 17. Don’t miss out onparting advice from the “doctor.” Stay tuned for more details, including the time and location.

 The popular COTTON FARM TOUR is back, offering a behind-the-scenes look at cotton production. The day-long tour is set for Thursday, October 25. Leading experts and professionals will offer insights about cotton cultivation and processing, addressing issues such as water use, cotton farming practices and the state of the market for Cleaner Cotton™ fiber. Cost is $40 a person and covers bus transportation, a catered lunch at the Cardella Winery in Mendota and snacks and water. The tour starts at 8:15 a.m. at the Best Western Apricot Inn, 46290 West Panoche Road, Firebaugh. Register through the Sustainable Cotton Project’s Eventbrite site.



To reserve a motel room at the special event price, contact the Apricot Inn at

 (559) 659-1444 and ask for “Sustainable Cotton Project — Cotton Farm Tour” rate.