Welcome to our Ag Blog. Our field scouts will offer a unique ground-level perspective from the field to you as an independent field scout with the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project. Our mission is to promote sustainable farming systems throughout the Central Valley and provide you with the latest information about cotton, almond and alfalfa crops. From time to time, you'll also find guest posts from our project team and other contributors. This Blog is edited by Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Now is the Time for Almond Growers to Tackle NOW
It's time to get rid of the mummy nuts in the trees. - UC IPM photo
The message never gets old for Walt Bentley, the well-known
entomologist and almond specialist in the Valley. Time after time, especially
during the winter months, Bentley stresses the importance of orchard
No, that doesn’t mean bringing out the mops and Spic’n Span
cleaner. The UC Integrated Pest Management emeritus advisor means cleaning up
those mummy nuts from the almond trees. This is really important to growers
with soft shell varieties, particularly the popular nonpareils.
Ideally, Walt takes a no tolerance approach: Knock off and
get rid of every mummy nut in each tree. UC IPM guidelines say trees should get
down to two or fewer mummy nuts.
Navel orangeworm are threat to the almond crop.
Winter, just a few days away, is good time to take a tour of
the orchard and see what those mummy loads are. “That’s where navel orangeworm
(NOW) gets it foothold. You need to get those down before spring to eliminate
that pest from the orchard,” he says.
To the $2 billion almond industry, NOW is considered one of
the most serious pests in almonds. The bugs can cause serious economic damage
and risk to human health. The worms bore into the nut and gobble up most of the
nutmeat. It also can lead to aflatoxin contamination.
Aflatoxin is produced by Aspergillus mold, which are known
carcinogens and mutagens. The Almond Board of California points out that major
export markets are imposing increasingly strict maximum limits for aflatoxin contamination.
That’s why Walt never tires of spreading the word about orchard
sanitation and managing NOW in the orchard as the first line of defense against
aflatoxin contamination. Now is the time to get out there.