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 produced by Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.
Monday, October 23, 2017
Time to Get Crackin’ on Mummies, Orchard Sanitation
folks in the fancy suits on Wall Street call it ROI – short for return on
Farm folks put it simpler terms: Is my time and
money worth it now so I don’t lose money later?
Take the case of almond orchard sanitation and mummy
nuts. Those are the stubborn nuts that refused to fall to the ground during
shaking – even after a couple shakings during the harvest.
One long-time almond grower tells field scout Jenna
Mayfield that he always sends crews out with hand poles after harvest to scour
his orchard and manually knock off the mummies.
swears up and down that he gets his money back the next season by doing orchard
sanitation,” Jenna says. Getting rid of mummies lessens the likelihood of pest
damage in next year’s crop. He also saves in pest treatment costs as well.
“There’s no reason for growers to wait until
February,” Jenna says.
Knocking off mummies. (UC IPM photo)
Indeed, orchard sanitation remains important to control
navel orangeworm (NOW) and protect against aflatoxin contamination. Growers
should head into the orchard and check for mummies, where NOW can get their
foothold. As a rule, according to
University of California Integrated Pest Management guidelines, trees should be
cleaned to less than two mummies per tree.
UC IPM experts and UC Cooperative Extension farm advisers
recommend sweeping or blowing the fallen mummies into center of the rows
between trees. Then they should be destroyed by discing or mowing.
In the meantime, Jenna is preparing to inspect the
estimated 4,000 almonds collected on the ground in orchards in Fresno, Merced
and Madera counties during harvest and checking for signs of pest damage.
Called crack-out, the task is a rite of fall for Jenna.
This season, Jenna collected four large boxes of almonds
for crack-out. One by one, Jenna will crack each almond, peel off the shell and
carefully examined the kernel and then jot down a few notes for growers. This
tedious process of checking each of the 0 samples she collected
helps guide pest management activities for the next year.
Jenna Mayfield will be cracking lots of almonds.
Contrary to the disclaimers made by investment
advisors, past performance can be a predictor of future results. So growers
should check their monitoring records from this season and start preparing for
dormant season activities.
In crack-out Jenna will look for
signs of Peach twig borer (PTB) and navel orangeworm (NOW), which often like to
infest the same nut. But NOW bores into the nut and PTB doesn’t. The NOW damage
will cover over the PTB damage. NOW damage is represented by a webbing and
powder-like remnants. She also will be keeping an eye out for
signs of ant damage.
After Jenna compiles her record, it
will be up to growers to follow up on trouble spots and take appropriate steps
to prevent pest problems in 2018. It’s hard to believe we’re almost into 2018.