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.”

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.

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