Sunday, September 11, 2016

Knock It Off or Your Cash Could Go Down the Drain

Would you throw away hard-earned cash?

Probably not. But some almond growers are doing just that. All they have to do is look up at their recently harvested trees.

“A lot of good nuts are still left on trees. It worries me,” says field scout Jenna Mayfield. “It’s like wasting money.”

Usually at harvest time, Jenna will spot trees with a smattering of nuts that mechanical shakers could not rattle off. It seems different this season. During her weekly scouting trips to almond orchards, Jenna has been seeing more quality nuts remaining in the trees. Normally, there are maybe 10 to 15 still left on a tree and most of those are bad ones – often undeveloped or pest damaged.

Almond growers don't want mummy nuts left on trees.
Last week, Jenna started alerting some growers about leftover nuts and suggested they send out a pole crew to manually knock off the remaining almonds.

There are multiple benefits to following Jenna’s advice:
·         These remaining nuts can serve winter homes for the dreaded navel orangeworm (NOW).
·         NOW problems next year translates 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.

Jenna said the high number of leftover nuts could be connected to growers rushing to harvest early to lock in a higher price. But the strategy could backfire if a grower ends up spending more on pest control expenses next season.

You might ask “Doesn’t it cost money to send out a pole crew?” Yes it does. But Jenna notes, “A lot of growers believe it pays for itself.”
We’re sure Jenna will continue telling almond growers to knock it off.

FIELD DAY ALERT: Growers are invited to hear Merced County Deputy Agricultural Commissioner Sean Runyon talk about new pesticide regulations for crops, worker safety and protection for schools during a September 22 field day in Dos Palos. The free program, “Alfalfa Management: Pests, Water, Manure Use and Regulatory Update,” will be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Scout Hut, 1910 Marguerite Street, Dos Palos.
Other speakers are:
·         UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management extension advisor Dr. Pete Goodell, who will introduce growers and PCAs to the national and UC pest management tools and discuss the important IPM during the past year.
·         University of California at Davis Cooperative Extension specialist Dan Putnam. He will discuss irrigation issues facing growers and trends in deficit and drip irrigation.
·         Nicholas Clark, UCCE farm advisor in agronomy and nutrient management for Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties. He will address the benefits and challenges of using manure in alfalfa and explain timing, best uses and application rates.
Continuing education credits have been applied for. The field day is sponsored by the San Joaquin Sustainable Farm Project. For more information, contact Project Director Marcia Gibbs at (530) 370-5325.

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