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, September 7, 2015
Even King Tut Would Just Say Nuts to These Mummies
time of year, Jenna Mayfield sees tens of thousands of almonds carpeting
orchard floors across the San Joaquin Valley.
Amid the drying almonds are mummy nuts.
Among the sea of green leaves and hulls and brown
nuts drying on the ground are a sprinkling of black mummy nuts. Jenna bristles
at this sight.
“It’s one of the things that drives me crazy,” Jenna
says about the presence of mummies. “It’s frustrating.”
Like a broken record, Jenna along with UC IPM and
extension advisors have stressed year after year the importance of ridding
almond orchards of mummy nuts. This zero tolerance stance makes a lot of economic
and environmental sense.
from the Almond Board of California and UC shows that leaving mummy nuts on the
trees during the winter will boost the population of overwintering navel
orangeworm (NOW) and ultimately increase the number of rejected nuts at the
processor due to insect damage at harvest time. NOW damage also decreases
overall yield. The almond industry sets a high bar for growers – reducing NOW
damage to 2 percent.
Almond experts point out that not
every mummy nut has NOW damage. Some kernels remain intact for the second
season but can be moldy, rancid or discolored. These, too, are rejects and
impact the grower’s quality grade.
Get rid of those mummy nuts.
Jenna says some growers won’t bother with winter
sanitation to save money. They don’t want to pay for workers to go from tree to
tree knocking off the mummies.In the long run, that frugal practice can
backfire. Growers either wind up spending more money to treat for NOW or losing
more bucks because of the rejects and lower grade.
Moreover, knocking off the mummies is a good
non-chemical solution to battle NOW infestation and nut damage.
“Get rid of the mummies this winter,” Jenna says flatly.
Meanwhile, field scout Carlos Silva says cotton
bolls have opened up in every field across the Valley. Aphids are still
lingering and now whiteflies are starting to show up, too. Growers need to keep
close tabs on these pests to avoid sticky cotton.
Carlos expects defoliation to start within the next
couple weeks. That means harvest is just around the corner as we head down the
back stretch of summer.
Alfalfa also is starting to wind down. Despite the
severe drought, many growers had enough water to stretch the growing season
into a fairly normal year. While aphids remain in the fields, their numbers aren’t
high enough to warrant treatment.
Day Alert: Here’s a reminder thatthe Almond Post
Harvest Management Field Day is set for 10
a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday at the corner of Mercy Springs Road and
Cotton Gin Road in Los Banos. Pomologist David Doll of UCCE Merced County will
talk about fall and dormant cultural practices to reduce disease and maximize
next season’s tree productivity. UCCE IPM Advisor Dr. Jhalendra Rijal will
discuss seasonal considerations for pest monitoring in almonds and Ganesh
Vishwanath of SeaNutri will cover the use of seaweed-based products in farming.
Two continuingeducation credits areavailable as well as CCA credits. For more
information, contact Marcia Gibbs of the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming
Project at (530) 370-5325.