WEST COAST NUT
MAY 2023 ISSUE
SPOTLIGHT: LESSONS LEARNED FROM LAST YEAR’S LOWER-THAN-EXPECTED PISTACHIO YIELDS
SEE PAGE 24
BY REAL CALIFORNIANS
YIELD FORECASTING IN ALMONDS
SEE PAGE 4
KEY 2022 TAKEAWAYS FROM ONGOING REGIONAL ALMOND VARIETY TRIALS
SEE PAGE 8
TREE NUT GROWER FINDS HER WAY BACK TO AGRICULTURE
SEE PAGE 14
IN THIS ISSUE: JUNE
Photo courtesy M. Lies
page 37 ANNUAL MEETING
IN THE HEART OF
14-16, 2023 See
As Orchard Floors Dry, Some Maintenance May Be Necessary
Effects of Bloom Diseases Linger in an Unusual Year
Preventative measures to protect trees from fungal and bacterial diseases, in many cases, were not able to be done due to continued wet weather at bloom and beyond. There is no question that for most Central Valley almond growing regions, speci c conditions for infection were present. Susceptible tissue, moisture and conducive temperatures pretty much describe the 2023 bloom and weeks thereafter.
Delay Planting New Orchards
Given the series of wet storms that pounded most of California during March, planting new pistachio orchards in heavy soils may not be possible as early in the spring as growers would like.
“Those orchards are a long-term investment. Make sure you give them a good start,” Reid Robinson, CEO of Sierra Gold Nurseries, said.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
TOP ARTICLES FROM PREVIOUS ISSUES
Deep holes from stuck tractors, ruts from ground rigs and rivers of water cutting channels down the middles of tree rows all left their marks on many orchard oors in the past few months. Returning oors to their former smooth state may be a challenge this spring for growers.
the Soil “Flows” To subscribe scan the QR code or visit myaglife.com/subscribe Don’t miss a single article Subscribe Today receive them directly to your inbox Exclusive Articles Twice a Month
Award Winning Editorial By the Industry, For the Industry
Publisher: Jason Scott
Editor: Marni Katz
Associate Editor: Cecilia Parsons
Almond Board of California
Kari Arnold, Ph.D. Regional Field Coordinator, Western Region IR-4 Project
Taylor Chalstrom Editor
Roger Duncan UCCE Pomology Advisor, Stanislaus Count
Phoebe Gordon UCCE Orchard Crops Farm Advisor
Roger A. Isom President/CEO, Western Agricultural Processors Association
Julie R. Johnson
Ramandeep Kaur Brar UC ANR Staff Research Associate
Theresa Kiehn President/CEO, AgSafe
Rich Kreps CCA, SSp., Contributing Writer
Bruce Lampinen UCCE Specialist
Catherine Merlo Contributing Writer
Luke Milliron UCCE Orchard Systems Advisor
Alden Parker Regional Managing Partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLP
Steve Pastis Contributing Writer
Clarissa Reyes UCCE Orchard Systems Advisor
Emily J. Symmes, Ph.D. Senior Manager of Technical Field Services, Suterra
Celeste Torres Technical Field Specialist, Suterra
Elizabeth Fichtner UCCE Farm Advisor, Tulare County
Katherine Jarvis-Shean UCCE Area Orchard Systems Advisor, Yolo and Solano
Steven Koike Tri-Cal Diagnostics
Jhalendra Rijal UCCE Integrated Pest Management Advisor, Stanislaus County
Mohammad Yaghmour UCCE Area Orchard Systems Advisor, Kern County
4 UC Advances Research on Yield Forecasting In Almonds 8 Key 2022 Takeaways from Ongoing Regional Almond Variety Trials 14 From the Orchard: Tree Nut Grower Finds Her Way Back to Agriculture 18 Top 5: Five Important Things to Know About the Soil Before Planting an Orchard 24 Lessons Learned from Last Year’s Lower-Than-Expected Pistachio Yields 28 Peeling Back the Bark on Lethal Paradox Canker Disease 32 View from the Top: Can Treehouse Become a Powerhouse? 36 DPR’s Sustainable Pest Management (SPM) Roadmap: Is it Sustainable? 38 Export Market Demands May Trump Crop Protection in the Future 42 New Changes Are Here for California Labor Laws 46 Cutting-Edge Tools Boost Efficiency in Almond Board Marketing 50 How to Prep Your Nut Orchard for Sale 54 Navel Orangeworm Mating Disruption: It’s Not Too Late for 2023 58 Nut Grower Deals with the Fallout from the March Miracle 62 IR-4: Paving the Road for Pest Management Solutions in the Nut Industry 66 Answering the Question: Why Use a Cover Crop? 70 Increased Precipitation Changes Everything for Growers This Year 72 Rethinking Your Heat Illness Prevention Strategy 74 2023 Pistachio Industry Annual Conference Provides Key Information to Industry Contributing Writers & Industry Support UC Cooperative Extension Advisory Board Surendra K. Dara Director, North Willamette Research and Extension Center Kevin Day County Director/UCCE Pomology Farm Advisor, Tulare/Kings
articles, research, industry updates, company profiles, and advertisements in this publication are the professional opinions of writers and advertisers. West Coast Nut does not assume any responsibility for the opinions given in the publication.
View our ePublication on the web at www.wcngg.com
growers can’t do much to mitigate the impacts of weather on crop yield, there are some best management post harvest practices to consider.
See page 24 While
May 2023 www.wcngg.com 3
UC Advances Research on Yield Forecasting In Almonds
By CECILIA PARSONS | Associate Editor
What is ‘yield prediction’ and will it help with managing crop inputs?
“If you have a good estimation of yield then you can use the information to manage nitrogen applications based on different needs,” Alireza Pourreza, associate professor and director of the Digital Agriculture Lab at UC Davis, said. “You can also use the information for irrigation rates.
“Yield forecasting is the first step in sustainability,” he added.
The almond industry, known for its sustainability goals and stewardship programs, has funded yield prediction research conducted by Patrick H. Brown and other researchers at UC Davis. The Jin Lab, under direction of Yufang Jin, has been developing scalable machine learning models to predict almond yield from individual tree, to cultivar, to block level early in the growing season with adjustments made mid-season.
Nitrogen use at the sub-block level is just one objective of the yield prediction research. To accurately predict seasonal nitrogen demand, growers need to estimate block level almond yield early in the season so that decisions on nitrogen applications can be made. Brown said the second is to understand variability in yield across an orchard. Identifying high-, medium- and-low production trees or areas in an orchard will help growers manage adaptively to achieve optimum yields. The third objective is to assist the industry for tool development by providing ground truthing and yield performance data.
Growers have been using the previous crop yield record to know how much nitrogen and other nutrients were removed at harvest. Those figures are used to plan fertilizer budgets for the next year and to comply with state regula-
tions regarding groundwater. Pourreza, who is also founder of Korbin Data Analytics, said yield prediction is much more complicated than previous crop and nitrogen use. Yield prediction relies on different data and depends on many factors. The main indicator, he said, is light interception. Photosynthesis is limited by light, he explained, and most trees never receive the maximum amount to reach their yield potential. Other factors include bloom intensity, flower numbers, canopy size and environmental factors of temperatures, soil health and management practices. Potential and historic yield are also included in the equation.
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Imagery offers growers better informed management of crop inputs, particularly nitrogen as growers need to comply with regulations aimed at preventing groundwater contamination.
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Assimilating all that data, Pourreza said, can provide a more accurate prediction of yield.
Research Identifies Key Determinants
Brown and Jin’s research on yield prediction began with collecting histor-
almond orchards dating back to 2005. A set of variables, including weather and orchard characteristics from remote sensing imagery were used as predictors. Results showed the predicted orchard level yield agreed with independent yield records. The research also identified several key determinants of yield based on modeling results. Almond yield increased dramatically with orchard age until about seven years
maximum temperature during the April-June timeframe enhanced yield in southern region orchards while higher rainfall in March reduced yield, particularly in northern region orchards.
Remote sensing metrics including maximum vegetation index were also identified as dominant variables for predicting yield potential. Brown said the next steps will be developing methodology for mapping at the sub-block
Grower and handler Dave Phippen said he believes there would be considerable interest in yield forecasting that would give growers new guidelines for nitrogen applications.
6 West Coast Nut May 2023
Mike Kelley, manager at Central California Almond Growers Association, said the estimation could provide valuable information for processors as well.
Frontiers in Plant Science by a research team that included Brown and Jin, it was noted that individual tree level yield estimation is critical for precision on-farm management and for improving understanding of yield variability with an orchard. Their research also notes that coupling high-resolution imagery and modeling opens the way for future innovation in precision orchard management. A deep learning model estimating almond yield was developed and evaluated by taking advantage of unique tree yield data and super high resolution of multispectral aerial imagery in 2021 over a single cultivar almond orchard in the Central Valley. A five-fold cross validation showed the model with special attention module, driven by 4-band block imagery of 21 by 21 pixels, captured 96% of tree-totree variation within the study almond orchard. They reported almond yield for all individual trees predicted by the model also captured the spatial patterns and variability of almond yield from row to row and from tree to tree both within a row and along a transect perpendicular to the row orientation.
They concluded the research demonstrated the potential of applying deep learning technology to integrate high-resolution multispectral aerial images for accurate and robust tree level yield estimation. The approach fills an important gap in tree level yield estimation critical for site-specific orchard resource management, ultimately contributing to sustainability.
From the handler perspective, there is also value.
“For the right audience, this tool would be very valuable,” almond grower and handler Dave Phippen said.
There are growers who would embrace this technology, and it may give new growers insight into production, he noted.
The value for a grower would be better informed management of crop inputs, particularly nitrogen as growers need to comply with regulations aimed at preventing groundwater contamination.
Phippen said he believes there would be considerable interest in yield forecasting that would give growers new guidelines for nitrogen applications.
Having early indicators of crop N needs would allow time for budgeting applications, he said.
Just weeks after bloom ended, there is still a long way to go before determining what is going to stick. Trees will still be shedding nutlets in April, Phippen said, but you don’t want to give them a reason to shed, and that is what a lack of fertility can do.
Mike Kelley, manager at Central California Almond Growers Association, said the estimation could also give
processors an idea of how long the season would run. They could also budget for labor and even the amount of plastic needed for stockpiles.
The statistics service forecast that comes out in the summer can be close to actual yield in most years, but is too late for budgeting purposes, Kelley said.
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May 2023 www.wcngg.com 7
Key 2022 Takeaways from Ongoing Regional Almond Variety Trials
By ROGER DUNCAN | UCCE Pomology Farm Advisor, BRUCE LAMPINEN | UCCE Specialist,
PHOEBE GORDON | UCCE Orchard Crops Farm Advisor, LUKE MILLIRON | UCCE Orchard Systems Advisor,
RAMANDEEP KAUR BRAR | UC ANR Staff Research Associate and CLARISSA REYES | UCCE Orchard Systems Advisor
The king of the California almond industry is still Nonpareil, a variety introduced way back in 1879 by A.T. Hatch. Growers like its high value, relatively consistent high yields, low disease susceptibility, early harvest and general ease of farming. Marketers like it because of its versatility, soft shell, large size, blonde color and low-percent defects like doubles or creases. Like every variety, Nonpareil has its flaws. Its
poor shell seal makes it susceptible to navel orangeworm, and too much water and nitrogen fertilizer can lead to excessive hull rot. The biggest Achilles heel of Nonpareil is it is not self-fertile, which means it must be planted with one or more pollinizer varieties. This requires two strong beehives per acre and decent weather in the month of February to allow for maximum pollen transfer and fertilization to take place. Even after 140
years, almond growers struggle to find the perfect pollinizer varieties to plant with their Nonpareil.
With funding provided by the Almond Board of California, through assessments paid by almond growers, the University of California has conducted regional field trials in the major almond growing areas of the Central Valley for over 50 years. In each of
UCD 18-20 has been one of the most consistent producers in these regional trials (all photos courtesy R. Duncan.)
8 West Coast Nut May 2023
UCD 8-160 suffers from hull rot and can have higher-than-average percent doubles and creases.
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Table 1. All 20 remaining varieties currently being researched in trials, nine of which are partially or fully self-fertile.
these trials, up to 30 commercial and experimental varieties are monitored side by side in commercial settings for yield, kernel quality and horticultural characteristics. The results are available for all almond growers to see so they can make informed decisions when choosing which varieties to plant. Previous trials have documented the performance of the top 14 out of 15 varieties most planted in California today. Perhaps more importantly, many poor performing dogs were exposed before growers made a 25-year commitment to a bad variety!
Although we are still searching for that perfect Nonpareil pollinizer, today the emphasis is on self-fertile varieties, which require fewer bees, are cheaper and easier to farm, reduce harvest dust by at least 50% compared to Nonpareil orchards and should have more consistent yields in years with poor bloom weather (2023 comes to mind.) Of course, we also want few insect or disease problems, good yields and high-value kernels, preferably that mature outside of the Nonpareil/Independence harvest window.
In 2014, we planted a third generation of regional almond variety trials. In these trials, we are evaluating 29 commercial and experimental varieties produced from UC Davis, USDA and commercial California nurseries. These varieties are being tested side by side in replicated field trials planted in Madera, Stanislaus and Butte counties. In Madera County, trees are on Hansen 536 rootstock and planted at a 12’ x 21’ spacing (173 trees per acre). In Stanislaus County, trees are on Nemaguard and planted at 16’ x 21’ (130 trees per acre), and in Butte County, trees are on Krymsk 86 and planted 18’ x 22’ (110 trees per acre). Test varieties are planted 50:50 with Nonpareil in alternate rows. In these current regional trials, 12 of the tested varieties are self-fertile.
Table 2. Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) is a measure of tree canopy size. Trees with higher yield per PAR could be the highest yielding varieties when an orchard is at full canopy. Crackout is the kernel weight as a percentage of the combined weight of the hull, shell, and kernel.
2022 was the ninth leaf of these trials, and a few varieties are rising to the top while many have fallen out the bottom. We have eliminated nine of the 29 varieties (Table 1), mostly due to poor yields, poor nut quality and/or difficulty shaking. Table 2 shows the 2022 yield of the remaining varieties,
Aldrich Bennett-Hickman Duarte Booth Burchell Capitola Burchell Durango Fowler Eddie Burchell Folsom Dave Wilson Jenette Fowler Kester UC Davis Nonpareil Sterling Burchell Supareil Burchell Sweetheart partially UC Davis UCD18-20 yes UC Davis UCD8-160 yes UC Davis UCD8-201 yes UC Davis Winters partially UC Davis Y117-86-03 yes USDA Y117-91-03 yes USDA Yorizane yes USDA Table 2
or selection Self-fertile Nurser y / Breeder
Variety 2022 Yield (lb / acre) PAR (%) Yield / PAR Weight / 100 kernels (g) % Crackout Capitola 3591 71.9 50.2 108.7 55.9 Y117-91-03 3199 67.5 46.6 92.2 66.0 Y117-86-03 3126 60.2 51.2 98.2 66.5 Nonpareil 3097 69.5 44.9 112.7 67.2 UCD 18-20 3045 65.3 46.9 120.4 53.6 UCD 8-201 2993 60.5 50.5 102.4 61.9 Aldrich 2913 65.3 44.5 94.5 54.7 Kester 2889 70.1 37.0 90.0 53.7 Durango 2820 65.8 43.1 102.7 56.5 Bennett-Hickman 2708 64.9 42.4 101.6 66.4 Eddie 2694 69.0 40.3 129.3 73.0 Yorizane 2690 56.3 47.9 105.7 62.2 Sterling 2609 69.0 36.7 104.7 63.8 UCD 8-160 2509 50.5 50.3 132.8 62.0 Booth 2482 73.2 34.5 129.7 59.4 Sweetheart 2481 73.7 34.3 88.7 62.1 Winters 2434 63.6 38.8 95.4 55.8 Jenette 2389 59.1 40.4 97.1 61.9 Folsom 1865 74.9 24.8 111.2 64.3 Supareil 1714 78.0 22.6 145.1 54.2 ContinuedfromPage8
2022 (Ninth Leaf) Yield Data Averaged Across Trial Sites in Madera, Stanislaus, and Butte Counties.
10 West Coast Nut May 2023
the average canopy size expressed as the amount of sunlight captured (i.e., photosynthetically active radiation or PAR) and the yield per canopy size. A PAR of 65% means the trees filled 65% of their orchard space. The higher the PAR value, the larger the canopy. Varieties with high yield per PAR are the most efficient and may be the highest yielding if all varieties were at the same canopy cover. A yield of 45 pounds per PAR would be considered excellent, with a theoretical yield of 4500 pounds per acre at 100% canopy cover. For instance, the variety Yorizane is a small tree with an average canopy cover of only 56.3% in these trials. However, the yield per PAR of 47.9 in 2022 indicated the yield potential was very high, and the actual yield in these trials would have been much higher if the trees were planted more closely or put on a more vigorous rootstock.
The Most Yield Efficient Varieties in 2022:
Y117-86-03. This is an experimental selection from the USDA breeding program and is self-fertile. It is yielding particularly well in the Butte County trial. Y117-86-03 reaches full bloom about three days after Nonpareil and harvests about 12 days after Nonpareil. The kernels are attractive, light in color, but smaller than Nonpareil. This variety was a little difficult to shake in the early years but appears to be better now. The release date of this experimental variety is pending a decision by USDA.
UCD 8-201. This is an experimental selection from the UC Davis breeding program and is also self-fertile. It is a compact, grower-friendly tree suitable for higher-density plantings. The kernel quality is very good, but unfortunately has a high percentage of doubles and can suffer from excessive hull rot. This variety may not be released due to its high-percent double kernels (29.3% in 2022).
UCD 8-160. This self-fertile, experimental selection from the UC Davis breeding program has a very small, weeping tree structure and typically has the highest yield efficiency in the trials. Because of the small tree size, it would need to be planted in a high-density system and/or on a vig-
orous rootstock. Bloom time is similar to Nonpareil and harvests more than three weeks later than Nonpareil. This variety also suffers from hull rot and can have higher-than-average percent doubles and creases.
Capitola. Discovered as a seedling tree in the Waterford area of Stanislaus County, this commercial variety is available from Burchell Nursery. Capitola is not self-fertile and would be considered a pol-
linizer for Nonpareil. Capitola was the variety with the highest average yield in the Madera and Stanislaus sites in 2022. Capitola blooms slightly ahead of Nonpareil and harvests about 8-10 days after Nonpareil. It shakes well in these trials and has had lower-than-average kernel defects, including very-lowpercent doubles and low navel orange-
is a that is certi ed and virus free. It has a beautiful California type kernel that blooms ahead of nonpareil and harvests a few days after that pollinates with Nonpareil and many other popular varieties.
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worm. The kernel is generally rated as a California type. Capitola was severely affected by bacterial blast in 2019. Yorizane. This self-fertile variety has recently been released from the USDA breeding program and is available from
Nonpareil. Although there was some staining of the kernel skin in 2022, defects have historically been very low in these trials, including low doubles and NOW. It is a small tree suitable for higher-density planting and could use a boost from a vigorous peach/almond hybrid rootstock. Bloom time is similar
UCD 18-20. This self-fertile UC Davis experimental selection has been one of the most consistent producers in these regional trials. The kernel has been rated as a Monterey or California type but can have higher-than-average doubles in some years. UCD 18-20 is very easy to shake and is one of the last to harvest in these trials, averaging about a month after Nonpareil. Disease incidence has been very low in this variety, including no hull rot and no bacterial blast in
This self-fertile USDA selection has the highest cumulative yield of all experimental varieties. It blooms a few days before Nonpareil and harvests about one week before Nonpareil. The tree is vigorous, with a nice, upright, grower-friendly structure and shakes well. The kernel is light in color and of excellent quality with no major defects, although smaller than Nonpareil. The unique “butterfly” hullsplit lends to a short hullsplit period, which reduces risk of hull rot and NOW. This exciting new variety is completing its final year of virus cleanup and should be released to all nurseries next year.
With funding provided by the Almond Board of California, UCCE has planted a new round of regional variety trials in Kern, Stanislaus and Butte counties this year, with 25 more experimental varieties from public and private breeding programs in California, Spain and Australia. All but two of these varieties are self-fertile, reflecting the direction of the California almond industry. Unfortunately, it takes many years to fully evaluate a new variety, so the results of these newly planted trials won’t be understood for several more years. However, it is worth the wait to avoid 25 years of regret!
For more information about these trials, watch for announcements of upcoming field days or contact UCCE Farm Advisors Roger Duncan (email@example.com), Phoebe Gordon (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Luke Milliron (email@example.com).
Comments about this article? We want to hear from you. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org ContinuedfromPage11 Subscribe at MyAgLife.com or Download the MyAgLife App to Play in Your Vehicle Scan to Download 12 West Coast Nut May 2023
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Cumula & ve Yield (lb / acre) 0 4750 9500 14250 19000
Figure 1. Average cumulative yield for all varieties across all three trial locations (third through ninth leaf).
May 2023 www.wcngg.com 13
From the Orchard Family Roots Tree Nut Grower Finds Her Way Back to Agriculture
By LORI FAIRCHILD | Contributing Writer
Julie Eilers Clary is the manager/chief executive officer of Eilers Ranch, LLC in Linden, Calif., a family-run farm that grows walnuts and almonds.
Clary has a rich family history of growing nuts in San Joaquin County. Her grandfather began growing walnuts in 1918, becoming one of the charter members of Diamond Walnut. When her father took the reins of the family farm, he became an innovator, improving growing practices for the entire industry.
When her father died in 2015, Clary and her husband left their careers in Sacramento and returned to Julie’s family farm. Although Clary had grown up on the farm, both she and her husband had to dig in and learn the nuts and bolts of running and growing the business.
With her rich family legacy and perspective as a woman taking over management of her family farm, Clary brings unique perspective and insight to her role at Eilers Farm. She sat down with West Coast Nut magazine to share some of those perspectives.
Q. Tell me a little bit about the history of your farming operation.
My family immigrated from northern Germany in 1858
charter members of Diamond Walnut.
My grandmother, Henriette, farmed grain independently on the other side of Linden. They married and raised my father, Henry Eilers, who graduated from UC Davis with a degree in plant science. He continued expanding our walnut operation while creating new innovations that improved the farming industry.
Some of his biggest contributions included a return flow system for drainage water and developing a walnut de-sticker with Flory industries for self-propelled harvesters as well as doing field trials with UC Cooperative Extension.
After he passed away in 2015, my husband, sons and I moved back to Linden from Sacramento to learn and care for our farm and continue our heritage in agriculture. Since that time, we have replanted aging orchards into walnuts and almonds while expanding our knowledge in the field.
Q. How have your farming practices evolved in recent years? What new production practices have you embraced and why?
In addition to standard moisture measurement such as evapotranspiration and soil probes, we have applied other methods to efficiently irrigate, including remote capacitance moisture probes and pressure bomb use.
We plant cover crops for improvement of soil composition and drainage as well as bee health. Use of low-dust harvesters, electric ATVs and chipping instead of burning during orchard removal helps air quality.
During this rainy year, we have brought in sheep as an alternative to chopping some of our orchards.
Q. What are the three things that keep you up at night related to growing walnuts and almonds?
The walnut and almond oversupply, shipping crisis and
Julie Eilers Clary is the manager/chief executive officer of Eilers Ranch, LLC in Linden, Calif., which grows walnuts and almonds (all photos courtesy J. Eilers)
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Clary has confidence in the future of the walnut and almond industries.
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export tariffs have led to low grower returns that are beyond our control.
Q. What are you most hopeful for in the future when it comes to farming almonds and walnuts?
With the current low prices for walnuts and almonds, new customers have been drawn into the marketplace. I see this as an opportunity to broaden the consumer base domestically and globally that could lead to greater demand.
Q. What in your opinion needs to happen to set the industry in the best possible direction for the future?
Leadership from the California Walnut Board and Almond Board of California in partnership with farmers working together to drive consumer demand through marketing, achieving tariff reduction, research, innovation and quality control. The situation for growers is urgent, particularly in walnuts, so we need our California Walnut Board to act intelligently, boldly and immediately.
Q. What do you think are the biggest assets of the nut industry in California?
The biggest assets of California’s nut industry include our superior-quality products, high standards, exceptional innovation, service, honest business practices and extraordinary development from varieties to harvesting.
Q. What is your proudest achievement as it relates to your professional development?
Transitioning from my first career as a nurse anesthetist to successfully running our family business is one of my proudest achievements. After my father passed, it was clear to me that my family roots were at the center of what was truly important in life.
This led me to bid farewell to my anesthesia career and focus my energy on our farm. As a team, my husband and I have taken the challenge to carry on my family heritage.
Q. How do you give back to the community both in agriculture and in the community where your operation is based?
We have served as leaders in our local 4-H club, hosted FFA events and hired and trained young adults interested in agriculture. Our farm has participated in trials and research to further the nut industry.
Q. What advice do you have for a young person getting into farming nuts today?
My advice for young men and women interested in agriculture is to share that hard work, integrity, faith and perseverance are at the heart of growing a beautiful and delicious product. There
Clary brought sheep into her family’s orchards this rainy year as an alternative to chopping.
16 West Coast Nut May 2023
Clary uses low-dust harvesters in her family’s orchards to reduce air quality impact.
is nothing like the joy of watching our walnuts and almonds grow and these fruits of our labor leaving the ranch to feed the world.
Q. Who was the biggest influence or mentor for you in your nut farming career?
My father instilled confidence in me from a young age. He always encour aged me that I had what it took to farm.
My grandmother proved to me that women are capable of farming on a large scale. It has been a steep up-hill
has been the introduction of driverskilled workers are freed up to perform tonomous farm tractors can farm in the
the walnut and almond industries are creating varieties and rootstocks more suitable for drought conditions, severe
industry leader in these areas will carry
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Clary’s grandfather (fifth from left in back row) was among the original members of Diamond Walnut.
By CECILIA PARSONS | Associate Editor
FIVE IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE SOIL BEFORE PLANTING AN ORCHARD UCCE Soil Research Specialist Toby O’Geen said soil texture is the top consideration for potential orchard site since it is the one thing that cannot be changed.
Selecting a new tree nut orchard site starts with soil suitability.
While location and water availability and quality are important aspects when selecting a new orchard site, soil quality can be a deciding factor and perhaps determine which tree species is the right fit. Potential sites with deep, uniform, loamy soils that have a combination of permeability and water retention can be ideal, but there are other soil properties to consider. Soil properties can affect nutrient uptake and plant growth.
A preplant soil sample to determine current nutrient levels of both macronutrients and micronutrients will dictate how much investment will be needed to add or if they can be skipped to prevent toxicities or deficiencies going forward. Finally, the previous crop at the site, row crop or tree crop, may have had an effect on the soil, and remediation may be necessary.
1. Soil Texture, Physical Barriers
Soil texture was identified by UCCE Soil Research Specialist Toby O’Geen as the top consideration for potential orchard site.
“You can’t change it, and it governs every other property ContinuedonPage20
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of the soil,” O’Geen said. The percentage of sand, silt and clay in a soil is an indication of its productivity potential. Equal amounts of sand, silt and clay is ideal for food production as the soil will have excellent water holding capacity.
“If you can understand texture of the soil, you can understand behavior of the soil,” he said.
It is not just the top foot or so that is important. With trees, soil texture well below the root zone can have an effect on tree health and productivity. Compacted soils, hard pan, layers of sand or silt and rock fragments in the soil profile are all physical limitations that affect tree development and productiv-
physical limitations at an orchard site is to dig a series of pits across the site to show the numbers and types of soil layers, their depth and variability. Decisions can then be made on feasibility of soil modification. Using deep tillage can break up man-made compact soil layers in the top 2 feet of the soil. This can improve water infiltration, soil aeration and root growth. Deep tillage can also be used to break through natural hard pan layers to improve drainage. It can also ease abrupt boundaries between different soil textures.
Sacramento Valley Walnut News reports if soil modification is necessary, it is best done prior to planting trees. Late summer or fall when the soil is dry is the preferred timing. Touch-up leveling can be done in the spring. Strat-
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Smart-Till tines fracture and open the soil 8” deep with little soil disturbance. Breaks hardened soil for longer irrigation sets and less ponding in the row middles. Delivering water and soil amendments directly to the root zone for Max results.
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ity and fertility. It supports microbial abundance and diversity.
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program noted that most soils have 1% to 6% organic matter depending on biological and
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A visual indicator of organic matter accumulation is dark-colored surface soil.
4. Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)
A soil’s CEC indicates how much nutrient the soil can hold and how it should be irrigated. Justin Nay, crop consultant with Integral Ag, said CEC measures the soil’s ability to hold on to fertilizer and how difficult or easy it will be to correct deficiencies or toxicities.
Cation exchange capacity is measured in a laboratory by adding up all the cations present in a sample (Ca+Mg+K+Na+Al+H). Nay said heavy clay soils can have values from 30 to 40 in the Central Valley. Heavy sand soils have values from 3 to 10. Typical silty sand is 10 to 20 with overlap with silty clay at 15 to 25. The greater the CEC, the greater ability for the soil to hold fertilizer and water; a lower number represents the opposite.
Nay said a high CEC costs a lot of time and money to change if toxic elements are present or if the relative abundance of the cations is out of whack. Conversely low CEC values are relatively less costly and can be corrected.
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“A simple CEC reading can tell you a lot about the level of investment a soil is going to require,” Nay said. The reading will also help provide fertigation and irrigation advice. That would be frequent short sets with low volumes of water for
Organic matter is a small but important portion of the soil makeup.
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low CEC and longer sets with greater fertilizer less frequently in high-CEC soils, assuming they are in balance.
5. Previous Land Use Effects
The previous crop planted at a potential orchard site could have physical, chemical and biological impacts on the soil.
Tobias Oker, UCCE soils and irrigation advisor in Kern County, said the ways rows are planted, plant spacing, irrigation management and tillage practices affect the soil.
“If there is a lot of heavy traffic with equipment, there can be compaction issues. Shallow-rooted plants versus deep-rooted plants can make a difference in the soil,” Oker said.
SoilBasics Agronomist Jim White said cotton, corn and hay rotations at the potential orchard site can mean glyphosate residue in the soil, which
ties up the micronutrient manganese which is used for respiration. This can cause water stress in newly planted trees. Soil microbiology and nutritional levels can also be affected by the residue in the soil.
White said he has also experienced tie-up of nitrogen and micronutrients in soils where an orchard is removed, chipped and the chips spread on the soil. It takes a while for the tannins in the wood to break down, White said, and ties up nutrients.
Some field crops also deplete soil
nutrients. In fields where flood-irrigated alfalfa was grown, salts are pushed down 12 to 16 inches and can concentrate at that depth.
“It’s shallow roots versus deeper roots,” Oker said. The shift to permanent crops has to come, he said, with soil sampling and management of the soils where the tree roots will grow.
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“A simple [cation exchange capacity] reading can tell you a lot about the level of investment a soil is going to require.” – Justin Nay, Integral Ag
Lessons Learned from Last Year’s Lower-Than-Expected Pistachio Yields
By MITCH LIES | Contributing Writer
Record-breaking heat during bloom and early September, a second straight year of meager precipitation, a freak rain event in mid-September and a mild winter combined to affect pistachio yield and quality last year, according to a UCCE nut crops advisor.
While growers reported good production, it was not what they had hoped for in an “on year,” according to Mae Culumber, nut crops advisor for Fresno and Kings counties. And researchers have tried to delve into the reasons why.
Culumber said the two main issues that affected the 2022 pistachio production were high temperatures during bloom and early September and the rain event on September 18, which dropped 0.2 to 0.4 inches in some areas of the San Joaquin Valley.
The extreme heat followed by the freak rain event exacerbated quality issues for both Kerman, which was between the first and second shake, and in some cases Golden Hills, she said. “In the areas that it rained, it really affected quality, particularly for Kerman trees that ripen earlier. The nuts on trees waiting for a second shake were in an advanced stage of ripening, and the added moisture advanced decomposition of the hull and increased issues with fungal pathogens,” Culumber said.
“The hulls are already starting to fall away when the nuts are ripe,” she added, “and so that exposes the shell and advances decomposition on the hull and creates
24 West Coast Nut May 2023
Several factors contributed to pistachio yields falling below what growers had hoped for in 2022 (photo by M. Lies.)
moist, warm conditions, which is bad for fungal pathogens like late blight Alternaria that leads to staining of the shells.” Staining, which was reported to be higher than normal in several production areas, but not in all, also can be caused by navel orangeworm and Gill’s mealybug insect damage, delayed harvest, intense heat during harvest and
extended durations between harvest and processing, she said.
Some growers north of Fresno County escaped the rain, Culumber added, but were inundated with temperatures that rose to 114 degrees F in some areas over the Labor Day Weekend. “The heat alone likely also played a big factor,” she said. “Aspergillus is a pathogen that thrives in heat and stains shells yellow.”
Reports of low accumulations of winter chill and high temperatures during bloom also could have played into the less-than-ideal yields, Culumber said.
“Any time you have a delay in leafout, that slows down the tree’s ability to photosynthesize and produce the carbohydrates that it puts into the new developing crop,” Culumber said. “So, you might get more aborted nuts if the tree doesn’t have the reserves to sustain that development. And any year that we get low chill, there can be problems with flowering and leaf-out.”
Low chill hours also can affect the ability of male and female varieties to sync, which can lead to reduced pollination, she said. And low winter chill hours typically lead to a later average bloom date, which, as it did last year, can expose pistachios to warmer temperatures in the spring, affecting flowering and pollination.
Another contributing factor to the lower-than-expected yields in 2022 may have been the size of the 2021 crop, which, for an off year, was high.
In general, there isn’t a lot a pistachio grower can do to minimize the affect of weather on crop, Culumber said. But there are considerations. For one, she said, going with an earlier maturing variety, like Golden Hills, has several advantages, including potentially sparing a crop from high temperatures during bloom.
“One of the reasons Golden Hills is a good option is because the later it gets in the season, the hotter it is going to be during bloom, and so it is beneficial to have those earlier blooming, earlier nut-setting varieties,” she said.
Also, in theory, the earlier a variety is harvested, the less problems it will have with navel orangeworm.
“Golden Hills is not without its problems,” Culumber said, “but because it has that earlier harvest, that has helped minimize problems with the navel orangeworm, because the longer the nuts are on the tree, the more lifecycles, the more opportunity the navel
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worm has to ruin the crop.”
Another option that growers could consider is to leave male pollinators unpruned, something researchers have been looking at as of late.
“Something we are interested in in some of our tree-training trials where we are doing modified central-leader training versus a reduced pruning or no pruning treatment, is to see if that is increasing pollen set,” Culumber said.
“We don’t have data to show that is increasing nut set,” Culumber added. “That’s just a theory right now, but it might be an interesting thing for people to try, to maybe leave the male trees unpruned to possibly get more male flowers for pollination.”
Good postharvest practices also can help growers minimize issues with weather.
“Postharvest is a good time to check on your irrigation system to make sure you are getting good distribution uniformity and do maintenance if you haven’t done a distribution uniformity test in a long time because the evenness of your watering really has an impact. You don’t want to be overirrigating some portions of the orchard and underirrigating other portions.
“It is also important to get some water on immediately after harvest to give the trees a little bit of relief,” she said. “We tend to think that is very critical in almonds, and it’s important in pistachio, too. We don’t tend to stress pistachio as much going up into harvest as we do the almonds but getting them a good drink after harvest is important.
“And do your sanitation for mummies,” she said. “There are always a good amount of nuts left on the trees, so if the weather allows, getting in for winter shaking and then shredding those mummies, making sure they are decomposing, should help reduce populations of navel orangeworm in the coming season.
“And make sure you are looking for fungal infections,” Culumber said. “That is the time to be removing some of those diseased branches from the orchard.”
Culumber said she didn’t know how much pistachio yields were down below grower expectations last year. But it is clear they were down to some degree. And while growers don’t have a lot of options for improving yield and quality during the season, she repeated there are steps growers can take to fend off the worst of weather’s effects.
“Some factors impacting yield and quality may be beyond control,” Cu-
lumber said, “while other issues can be mitigated by implemented best management practices in the postharvest season.”
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May 2023 www.wcngg.com 27
Peeling Back the Bark on Lethal Paradox Canker Disease
By VICKY BOYD | Contributing Writer
At first glance, the symptoms of Phytophthora root and crown rot and lethal Paradox canker disease in walnut trees (yellowing leaves, failure to thrive and ultimately tree death) may look similar. But peel back the bark, and the similarities end.
Paradox canker disease cankers tend to be more rounded or lobed at the edges, compared to the irregular margins of Phytophthora cankers. While researchers have pinpointed the cause of Phytophthora root and crown rot and have developed management recommendations, they have yet to determine the causal agent of Paradox canker.
“We know a lot about Phytophthora, but Paradox canker is a big question mark,” said Jaime Ott, UCCE orchard crops advisor for Shasta, Glenn, Butte and Tehama counties. “We’re looking at everything, for example, causation by an unknown pathogen, as well as hybrid incompatibility or environmental sensitivity.”
Her comments came during the recent Quad-County Walnut Institute in Stockton.
Seeking the Causal Agent
To learn more about Paradox canker disease and its cause,
an interdisciplinary research team has been visiting orchards and sampling trees affected by the disease for more than a decade. Leading the effort is Greg Browne, a USDA-ARS research plant pathologist housed in the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology. During the visits, team members collected samples of affected tissue, learned about visual symptoms that distinguish Paradox canker from Phytophthor a crown rot and observed orchards for clues surrounding Paradox canker and potential management steps to avoid it.
The researchers used several methods to examine affected tissue collected from Paradox canker trees, Browne said. First, they placed bits of tissue in isolation media to detect agents associated with the disease. In some cases, they also used electron microscopy to examine infected tissue.
DNA and RNA extracted from affected tissue also were subjected to various methods that detect molecular “fingerprints” of potential causal agents, including those that might not be culturable, such as viruses.
Hossein Gouran, a post-doctoral associate in Browne’s
28 West Coast Nut May 2023
Lethal Paradox canker disease symptoms. Note in the far right photo the rounded, lobed cankers once the bark is removed (all photos courtesy University of California.)
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laboratory in 2017, used DNA and RNA extracts for metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches, which typically are used to study specific microorganism communities. They also can be used to explore samples for molecular fingerprints of specific pathogen genomes and genes.
Finally, to find evidence of an infectious agent causing the disease, researchers completed graft transmission of Paradox canker symptoms. This involved taking bark disks from infected trees and grafting them onto healthy trees, said Ott, who had worked in Browne’s lab for eight years before joining UCCE earlier this year. Some of the healthy Paradox rootstock portions around the grafted disks became symptomatic, providing Browne and Ott with evidence that a transmissible agent may cause Paradox canker disease.
To date, Browne said, testing has not provided consistent evidence of the specific Paradox canker disease cause. More work is needed to pinpoint the disease agent, including fulfillment of Koch’s postulates, which are a series of steps that pathologists use to determine the cause of a disease, he said.
They include consistently isolating and identifying a suspected causal agent from plants showing disease
symptoms. Researchers then inoculate healthy plants with the suspected agent to determine whether disease symptoms appear. At the same time, they compare the inoculated plants to non-inoculated controls.
From there, the researchers try to reisolate and identify the suspected causal agent from the inoculated symptomatic plants.
Bob Beede, who as a UCCE farm advisor in Kings County was one of the first to find what initially was dubbed unknown Paradox canker in 2007, said the inability to find a causal agent is not for lack of trying.
“Dr. Browne has to be given just a tremendous amount of credit for his tenacity to understand what this is,” said Beede, a farm advisor emeritus.
The Paradox Surrounding Clonal Rootstock
A hybrid of mainly Juglans hindsii and J. regia (Northern California black walnut crossed with an English walnut), Paradox rootstock has become popular because of the hybrid vigor it imparts to trees. In fact, more than 70% of the state’s commercial English walnut trees are grafted onto it.
So far, they’ve only found Paradox canker disease in trees grafted onto seedling Paradox rootstock, Ott said. And trees don’t seem to develop Paradox canker disease until they are
well into crop-bearing years, typically eight years or older, she said. Surveys of walnut orchards on Paradox seedling rootstock have identified the canker disease in at least some orchards within all walnut-producing regions of the Central Valley, Browne said.
The current recommendation is to remove trees infected with Paradox canker, taking care not to spread diseased tissue in the orchard, Ott said. Although reset trees have not been observed succumbing to Paradox canker, they still are subject to replant pests, such as plant parasitic nematodes.
Whether trees grafted onto clonal Paradox rootstock, such as Vlach, RX1 and VX211, are susceptible is unknown since they are much newer, and many orchards using these rootstocks are just entering the vulnerable period, Ott said. So far, the malady has not been found in clonal Paradox trees, Beede said.
“Any time you have cloned something, you have now narrowed down the genetic pool,” he said. Browne agreed and said it was important to determine whether the clones are susceptible to Paradox canker because of the inherent genetic uniformity within them.
We know a lot about Phytophthora, but Paradox canker is a big question mark.”
– Jaime Ott, UCCE
30 West Coast Nut May 2023
Phytophthora crown rot symptoms. Note in the far right photo the irregularly shaped edges of the canker once the bark is removed (all photos courtesy University of California.)
Beede recommended that growers and consultants scout for Paradox canker disease in orchards on clonal Paradox rootstock as they would any other disease.
Paradox Canker vs Phytophthora Crown Rot Cankers
Trees with Paradox canker may initially have yellowing leaves and loss of vigor. Visual evidence also includes black oozing of the bark extending from below the soil line up into the lower Paradox tree trunk, Beede said.
Distinguishing these symptoms from Phytophthora involves removing a patch of bark using a chisel and hammer to expose the canker in the woody tissue.
“If you see a tree that’s oozing something that looks like black crank case oil, don’t overlook it,” he said. “Investigate with a hammer and chisel to see what’s going on.”
While Phytophthora crown rot cankers typically have jagged edges, those of Paradox cankers generally have rounded lobes. New cankers extend from older, darker portions of the canker, giving what some researchers have described as resembling Mickey Mouse ears.
Eventually, the canker may envelop the rootstock. Based on surveys of orchards, researchers say infected trees usually die within a few years of symptom onset.
Beede recommended that growers or PCAs who suspect Paradox canker contact their local farm advisor to collect samples for further testing.
That said, Paradox canker has a low incidence within orchards, ranging from 1% to 6% in the most severe cases, based on surveys conducted by farm advisors and researchers. That compares to Phytophthora, which can take a much greater toll in orchards in severe instances.
Of the 200-plus members of the Phytophthora genus worldwide, a handful of species cause the bulk of problems in California walnuts, Ott said.
Phytophthora can be diagnosed by specialized laboratories using culture-based methods or by PCR testing
of pathogen DNA.
Pears can be used as bait for Phytophthora species in soil samples. Within a couple days of exposure, the pear should begin to show lesions if Phytophthora spores are present. However, pear baiting provides only indirect soil-based evidence for involvement of Phytophthora in tree infections; pear baiting results are useful but not definitive, Browne said. Currently, Paradox canker
disease is diagnosed by its distinctive visual symptoms and lack of association with Phytophthora in symptomatic tissues.
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View from the Top
Can Treehouse Become a
Yes, says the almond company’s new CEO, Mauro Trevisani.
By CATHERINE MERLO | Contributing Writer
Since becoming CEO of Treehouse California Almonds last November, Mauro Trevisani has set out to transform the 40-year-old almond company into what he calls “an industry powerhouse.”
Over the next five years, says the Brazilian-born executive, the almond company will grow its volume by 50% from its current annual supply of over 100 million pounds. Already selling a variety of almond ingredients to customers in 50 countries, Treehouse will expand into more value-added products. What’s more, Trevisani is committed to making Treehouse the No. 1 supplier to almond customers worldwide.
“Product development, innovation, using sustainability to bring products to consumers with a focus on health and nutrition, that’s the way we’re moving,” he said.
Those are ambitious goals for a CEO who’s new to the almond industry. But, for more than 20 years, Trevisani has been managing large public corporations as well as small private and family-owned companies in Latin America, the U.S. and Canada. He’s learned what it takes to run a company successfully.
“Business is business everywhere,” he said. “You open your toolbox, you learn the dynamics, and then you apply what you know.”
Trevisani took over his new CEO
position from Jonathan Meyer, who had led Treehouse since 2014 and remains on its board of directors. The company operates two almond processing facilities north of Bakersfield, one in Earlimart and the other in Delano. Some 65% of its volume is exported as almonds and almond ingredients for the baking, snack and confectionary industries. At peak season, the almond handler employs roughly 250 people.
Before coming to Treehouse, Trevisani served as vice president and general manager of Griffith Foods. The Illinois-based company specializes in food ingredients for global and regional food companies. His experience also includes executive roles in food and beverage operations at Tate & Lyle in Chicago. Earlier, he spent four years as chief operating officer for Andes Chemical Corp. in Miami, Fla.
Trevisani received an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Pittsburgh. He also holds a Green Belt certification in Six Sigma, which focuses on process improvement.
West Coast Nut recently spoke with Trevisani about his plans for Treehouse, how he and his team will achieve their ambitious goals, and the New Hope Regeneration and Sustainability Award the company won in March 2023.
Employee vehicles line up at the Treehouse processing facility in Earlimart.
Empty bins await the almond harvest at Treehouse’s hulling and shelling plant near Delano.
32 West Coast Nut May 2023
Mauro Trevisani in Treehouse’s conference room in Earlimart.
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Q. How would you describe Treehouse California Almonds?
We’re a company with a purpose, which is to be the No. 1 almond ingredient supplier, in different formats, not only domestically but also internationally. Also, we care, we strive, we supply. We have a “why.” Most companies have a “what”; “What do you do? We supply almonds.” But I like to manage with an emphasis on the “why.” Our why is we care about our people, our customers, our growers and the planet. We strive to be the best company in operational excellence, and, by the way, we supply almonds. That’s the way we operate.
Q. What differentiates Treehouse from your competitors?
We have a grower network that is small but made up of some of the best almond producers in the world. Why is this important? To control quality, sustainability and traceability, which are important to consumers and to our business. We manage the company based on “People, Planet and Prosperity.” Operational safety and food safety are among our values; we never put our people, customers and communities at risk. When we talk about prosperity, it’s not only for the shareholders but for employees and their families too. Treehouse takes care of 1,000 to 1,200 people when you add in families.
Q. What are the one or two most important things you’ve done in your first five months at Treehouse Almonds?
One is just telling people why we’re moving to this powerhouse goal. Explaining we’re looking at managing this through safety and food safety for people, planet, prosperity. I have emphasized communicating with the team, understanding them. The most important asset of any company is people. I could go to the board and justify equipment (a roaster, a blancher, a blender), show them a return on investment, and boom. But people, you don’t buy; you win them over. So that’s the first important thing. But also, we’ve implemented five guiding principles for moving forward.
Q. What are those principles?
One is people, with a cultural add, which is different from cultural fit. Cultural add is when you bring in a certain capability that you don’t have. For example, bringing in human resources that we didn’t have before and need now as we get bigger and bigger. Or bringing in your first food scientist for product development.
The second one is transformation. How are we going to transform the company to provide more value-added, more engineered, tailor-made, customized products? But transformation is not only for the company but also for us as people.
The third is operational excellence, not only at the factory and manufacturing level but also achieving state of the art from marketing to sales to finance, operations, admin, everything.
The fourth principle, which the company was very good at before I arrived, is collaboration. How we collaborate with each other internally and externally is key to success.
And the last is delivering on our promises, delivering results.
Q. How’s that going?
It’s going well. We are changing the leadership, bringing in some new people, such as a vice president of finance. I’ve been managing leadership teams for a while, and I like to
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Treehouse is just starting on its path to grow its volume by 50% over the next five years.
have a diverse team. This diversity is not only about gender or certain attributes but also the way people think. I’m managing people who have devoted 20 to 25 years to this company and inviting in some new people, to form the
best team in the industry. Treehouse will strive for success. Having said that, we need to communicate why we are planning to make these changes and how they’ll move us to our goal.
Q. Treehouse is part of a coalition of industry innovators known as The Almond Project, which in March received the New Hope Regenerative and Sustainability Award. What do this farmerled partnership and the award mean for Treehouse?
The Almond Project is a multiyear initiative to promote sustainable almond farming methods. It’s very nice to have won this recognition with our other five project partners. I’ll be honest: One of the reasons I joined Treehouse was because of this project. It’s unbelievable how much this movement could benefit not only the almond industry but other industries as well. It’s meaningful for all of us, for the
environment and for the communities that rely on agriculture. We want more people to join us in this movement.
Q. Can you talk about your “Where to Play, How to Win” plan?
It’s a strategic framework we’re putting together to help us move toward becoming an industry powerhouse with more value-added products and greater innovation. It’s going to describe how we can leverage sustainability together with current and new customers, grow into new geographies, target new segments and so on. This is where we’re going. We’ll present the first draft of the “Where to Play, How to Win” plan to our board in May to explain how we can structure Treehouse Almonds to achieve its transformation and become the No. 1 supplier to almond customers worldwide.
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New to the almond industry, CEO Mauro Trevisani comes to Treehouse with 13 years of food industry experience (all photos by C. Merlo.)
DPR’s Sustainable Pest Management (SPM) Roadmap: Is it Sustainable?
By ROGER A. ISOM | President/CEO, Western Agricultural Processors Association
In yet another blatant attempt to eliminate pesticides, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) has released their long-awaited Sustainable Pest Management (SPM): A Roadmap for California. The state claims this effort is “part of the State of California’s commitment to accelerating the transition away from high-risk pesticides toward adoption of safer, sustainable pest control practices.” And while there are items in their document that could help California agriculture move toward that goal, it is not the purpose of the Roadmap.
Let’s be clear: This Roadmap is a clear-cut recipe to ban most pesticides in California. In the opening paragraph, the document highlights the Roadmap’s “North Star.” It claims by 2050, pest management approaches in both agricultural and urban contexts in California will promote human health and safety, ecosystem resilience, agricultural sustainability, community wellbeing and economic vitality. The implementation of these approaches will help steward the state’s natural and cultural resources, enabling healthy lives for all and an abundant, healthy food supply for future generations. Their words, not mine. This is followed immediately by the statement of the two primary goals of the Roadmap, as follows:
By 2050, California has eliminated the use of “Priority Pesticides” by transitioning to sustainable pest management practices.
By 2050, sustainable pest management has been adopted as the de facto pest management system in California.
So, what are “Priority Pesticides?” According to CDPR, Priority Pesticides, while not specifically identified individually, are defined as follows:
“Priority Pesticides,” which we are intentionally capitalizing, refer to pesticide products, active ingredients, and groups of related products within the context of specific product uses or pest/location use combinations that have been deemed to be of greatest concern and warrant heightened attention, planning, and support to expedite their replacement and eventual elimination. The criteria for classifying pesticides as “Priority Pesticides” includes, but is not limited to hazard and risk classifications, availability of effective alternative products or practices, and special consideration of pest management situations
that potentially cause severe or widespread adverse impacts. The identification of these Priority Pesticides will be conducted by DPR under advisement of the multistakeholder Sustainable Pest Management Priorities Advisory Committee. Priority Pesticides are a subset of high-risk pesticides. We define “high risk” pesticides as active ingredients that are highly hazardous and/or formulations or uses that pose a likelihood of, or are known to cause, significant or widespread human and/or ecological impacts from their use.
When taking a closer look at what the Roadmap is considering, DPR further indicates that pesticides to be listed include groundwater contaminants, toxic air contaminants, restricted use products, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, reproductive and developmental toxicants (Prop. 65), and environmental toxicants, such as those toxic to non-target pollinators, mammals, birds and fish. For tree nuts, this will be impactful, as glyphosate, abamectin, 1,3-D, sulfuryl fluoride, methyl bromide and phosphine are all products that are on one or more of these lists.
This is the most critical element of the Roadmap and the one that causes the most concern. When considering the most recent action by CDPR in eliminating chlorpyrifos, the development of alternatives was supposed to be done hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, chlorpyrifos was eliminated, and no alternative was developed or registered that proved to be equally effective. The agriculture industry remains concerned this will happen again and lose many more effective tools in combating invasive pests and weeds. In response, CDPR proposes to “prioritize and expedite the registration review process for alternatives to high-risk pesticides.” Only time will tell, but the agricultural industry will have to do what it can to press CDPR to follow through on this commitment and ensure a viable and effective alternative is on the market and available before removing a product from the marketplace.
In terms of assistance, two of the goals of the Roadmap include expanding research and development infrastructure and enhancing extension and education. This includes a specifically stated goal to “increase UC funding and staffing for SPM research, training and extension.” Further, the Roadmap calls for increased funding that incentivizes research, extension, outreach and technical assistance providers. This is something the agriculture industry has been requesting for some time and it will be very helpful.
In the long run, this appears to be another step in the state’s push to move agriculture to 100% organic. While no farmer wants to spray a single ounce of pesticide, it is necessary to produce the quality and quantity of food and fiber this state provides. One wonders what the premium for organic food and fiber would be if all acreage was organic, and how much more land, water and other valuable resources will be needed to make up for the lost production. Again, only time will tell. For now, this state continues its reckless path of overregulation, making California the most difficult land to farm in the world.
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It’s that time again for the Annual Conference of the Western Agricultural Processors Association! The 2023 Annual Conference will be held at the Monterey Conference Center located in beautiful downtown Monterey, California on June 14th—16th. Join us for our annual golf tournament, associate member exhibitor show, receptions, dinner with entertainment, informational business sessions and more. You must attend what will be an informative, fun, and relaxing Annual Conference in Monterey. June 1 4 -1 6 (559)455 -9272 www.agprocessors.org Visit www.agprocessors.org to register and for more information R EGISTER TODAY agprocessors.org 202 3 A NNUAL MEETING S can the QR Code T o Register
Export Market Demands May Trump Crop Protection in the Future
By CECILIA PARSONS | Associate Editor
In the future, growers’ ability to protect their tree nut crops against pests and diseases may be challenged by export market demands for lower pesticide residue levels on commodities. The EU, in particular, has been lowering Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) to the limit of detection as they review products for use in the EU and make determinations that their use cannot be continued within the EU. Other key export markets don’t have import MRL processes and thus have limited MRLs in place. And, countries such as Vietnam with a history with herbicides (Agent Orange) have taken action to ban the use of certain herbicides at home and thus also reduce MRLs.
All of California’s tree nuts are highly exported, including 70% of almonds, 67% of walnuts and 70% of pistachios.
“I see threats in the not-too-distant future,” Gabriele Ludwig, Almond Board of California’s director of sustainability and environmental affairs, said of increased demands by the European Union, the largest export market for California almonds. She expects more handlers will ask their growers and PCAs to discontinue the
use of certain products or to only use them in specified time frames. Ludwig added this happened with the fungicide iprodione (Rovral).
Zack Raven, farm manager and director of grower services at pistachio processor and grower Keenan Farms Inc., predicted losing value of pistachio shipments to the EU if loads are rejected due to detection of pesticides.
Not knowing the market destination for your crop and difficulty or cost of separating loads can mean loss of value. Raven said there are several neonicotinoid products they now do not allow their growers to use because of residue concerns with exports. This poses a problem with mealybug control, he said, as there are not many effective alternative pesticides. Use of other crop protection materials may be restricted after certain crop growth stages.
In a presentation at the 2022 Crop Consultant Conference, Caroline Stringer of the California Fresh Fruit Association said California exported $21 billion in agricultural products including tree nuts in 2020, and the EU was the top export market.
Maximum residue levels in the U.S. are based on Good Agricultural Practices, which are not safety limits but represent the maximum concentration of a pesticide residue legally permitted in or on food commodities and animal feeds based on the maximum use rate and application frequency. They ensure that if the label is followed, the MRL (or tolerance) will not be exceeded. There have been efforts to harmonize MRLs
With about 70 percent of nut crops going to export markets, understanding MRLS for different export countries is an immediate concern for California nut growers (photo by C. Parsons.)
Growers should check with their handlers before applying pesticides that may have MRL issues for exports and/or require load separation (photo by C. Parsons.)
38 West Coast Nut May 2023
Zack Raven, farm manager and director of grower services at pistachio processor and grower Keenan Farms Inc., said ne onicotinoid create residue concerns with exports (photo by M. Katz.)
Capturing Maximum Genetic Potential
globally, but the EU, one of the largest export markets for tree nuts, is moving away from global standards. Actually, Ludwig said, they are explicitly trying to make their new standards THE international standards.
Establishment of MRLs is not clear cut across all importing nations and their capacity to evaluate or definitions of acceptable risks can differ. The World Trade Organization agreement states that scientific justification is required and process for determination must be transparent and consistent.
Detection Can Equal Rejection
If an importing country detects residues above their legal limit on a product, there can be devastating ramifications for growers, importers and retailers. Most detections are at port which can mean rejected shipments and costs the attendant with shipping back or finding a new market. If detected at the retail level, there can be re-
calls of product along with media. Loss of market access for the shipper or entire industry are possible consequences, Stringer said. Global harmonization of MRLs does not exist, and a product that meets domestic residue standards does not guarantee status in an export market.
However, Stringer noted a lack of MRL harmonization globally and inconsistency in application from year to year means uncertainty for growers. Every season, she said, there is loss of MRLs, more restrictive MRLs, lack of universal standards for surveillance, improved detection capability and higher levels of retail standards.
Not all MRLs are established in export countries, and it is ad-
vised not to use products until they are established to ensure regulatory stewardship and compliance. Alternatively, efforts are made to see if a longer PHI can help to meet the lower MRLs in export markets.
Residue trials on crop protection products aim to determine the timeline for breakdown of the active ingredient, but there are environmental factors that can influence breakdown, Thomas Jones, senior director of analytical services at Safe Food Alliance, explained. Trials attempt to mimic certain environmental conditions, but that is not always possible.
Jones said the EU has become a challenging market for some agricultural products due to uncertainty. Safe Food Alliance conducts residue screens for more than 400 compounds and Jones said detections of pesticide residue are well below the U.S. MRLs.
“There is fear of product rejection among processors, and they try to be aware of the destination” Jones said. Residue trials on crop protection products do an excellent job of predicting pesticide degradation, but there can be environmental factors that can influence breakdown, he explained. Trials attempt to mimic certain environmental conditions, but that is not always possible.
Ludwig said EU’s Green Deal is what is driving the many reductions in MRLs in the EU. EU has promised to reduce the use of chemical pesticide by 50% by 2030 within the EU and are focused on eliminating “risky” pesticides. EU growers have no idea how they will manage their pests, but point out if they can’t use a product, imports should not either. Thus, as the pesticides EU growers can use on their crops become more limited, Ludwig said imported crops will also be required to meet the same standards, typically a default detection limit of 0.01 ppm.
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40 West Coast Nut May 2023
I see threats in the not-too-distant future.
Gabriele Ludwig, Almond Board of California
Failing to harmonize MRLs globally or losing them altogether would be a blow to poor countries who have agricultural products to export but no resources to test, Jones said. Setting the default detection of 0.01 ppm is driving the elimination of crop protection chemicals, but the reality, Jones said, is how do you get there while maintaining the food supply? Neonicotinoids, older chemistries such as broad-spectrum fungicides and insecticides, and, for political reasons, glyphosate, are likely to be targeted.
Ludwig said the EU doesn’t differentiate between the types of pesticide; any pesticide that meets one or more of the cutoff criteria (carcinogen, mutagen, endocrine disruptor, developmental toxicant) will no longer be registered for use in the EU, thus resetting the MRL to the Limit of Detection. She noted the EU is also proposing to lower MRLs where it has environmental issues of ‘global concern,’ e.g., a product that affects pollinators widely.
MRLs are food standards, not environmental standards. It is very hard to predict which compounds will get caught up in the EU crosshairs, Ludwig said. Some products are not a surprise (think products on the Prop 65 list), but others have been cut off because of lack of data for a metabolite where the EU implements the precautionary principal, saying since it doesn’t have the data, it cannot make a safety finding and must assume the worst and cancel the product. That does not rule out future acceptance once data for a metabolite is submitted.
Ludwig said the Green Deal is seen in Europe as an opportunity to overhaul several aspects of the economy, including reducing reliance on fossil fuel as one of the primary energy sources that drive economies. A key element of the Green Deal is the Farm to Fork Strategy, which aims to accelerate the EU’s transition to a sustainable food system and highlights an urgent need to reduce dependency on pesticides.
Ludwig said the EU is going further, not only implementing these new pesticide standards for their own growers but working to export the standards into international standards such as Codex Alimentarius. The EU parliament and the EU Commission says they are taking this action against pesticide use because it claims that is what the consumer wants, Ludwig said.
As to how U.S. growers can adapt, one way is to check with their respective handlers to see if there are any compounds they are concerned about given where their nuts or produce are exported. In many cases, at least for nuts, there are limited or no residues, so the lower MRL is not of concern. However, compounds used closer to harvest, used postharvest and ones that can linger in the environment may have detectable residues.
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New Changes Are Here for California Labor Laws
By ALDEN PARKER | Regional Managing Partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLP
Several hot-button legislative proposals made it to Governor Newsom’s desk this year, many of which would change the landscape for California’s agricultural employers. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has been a “return-to-normal” year for California lawmakers, which means a return to aggressive legislation establishing and expanding workplace protections for employees. Here is a summary of the top six new laws California’s agricultural employers now have to deal with.
Card Check for Agricultural Employees
There have been numerous previous attempts to allow agricultural employees to organize under the ALRA utilizing a “card check” process. However, prior proposals have been vetoed by Governors Newsom, Brown and Schwarzenegger. Advocates for this legislation did not give up, however, and this time, surprising many, Governor Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 2183.
Even more surprising was the manner in which Newsom signed the bill. While he signed AB 2183 into law, he simultaneously announced that he had reached an agreement with the bill’s sponsors to essentially replace AB 2183 with a new law next year.
Under AB 2183 as written, each January, an agricultural employer will have to decide whether they would agree to a “labor peace compact.” Among other things, this will prohibit the employer from making statements against the union in any organizing campaign or conducting “captive audience” meetings with employees. If the employer agrees to a labor peace compact, the employees will vote via a newly created mail-in ballot process (rather than the existing secret ballot election process.) However, if the employer does not agree to sign a labor peace compact,
employees will be able to select a union via card check without an election. However, the new bill announced by the governor for next year would essentially scrap this labor peace compact and mail-in ballot approach and constitute a straight card check process. Labor organizations would simply be able to organize agricultural workers by submitting a petition along with authorization cards signed by a majority of the employees with no election. A full summary of the new law can be found at fisherphillips.com/news-insights/ california-agricultural-legislative-update-card-check.html.
Employment Discrimination and Cannabis
After several previous attempts to establish employment discrimination protections regarding the lawful use of cannabis, the first such bill made it to the governor’s desk and he signed it into law.
Assembly Bill 2188 prohibits adverse action based on 1) an employee’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace, or (2) a drug-screening test that found the employee to have nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine or other bodily fluids. While this restricts an employer’s ability to act based merely
on metabolite testing, adverse action based on THC-positive testing will still be permitted.
While the bill specifies it does not permit an employee to possess or be “impaired” by cannabis on the job, this will be a challenge for employers. There is currently not a general, wide-spread and easy test for determining cannabis impairment.
AB 2188 does not apply to an employee in the building and construction trades, preempt requirements for federal contracts or interfere with specified employer rights to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace. This law does not go into effect until January 1, 2024. A full summary of the new law can be found here at fisherphillips.com/news-insights/california-workers-gain-new-cannabis-protections-what-employers-need-to-know. html.
Expansion of Pay Data Reporting and Posting of Pay Scale in Job Postings
California also continues to push the envelope when it comes to efforts to address pay inequities. Several years ago, the state enacted legislation to require certain employers with 100 or
42 West Coast Nut May 2023
Several new proposed labor laws will impact individual employees and their employers (photos by C. Parsons.)
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more employees to file pay data reports with the state.
This year, follow-up legislation (Senate Bill 1162) expands that existing law in several ways.
First, the bill requires all private employers with 100 or more employees to file such pay data reports, regardless of whether they are required to file a federal EEO-1 with the EEOC. Second, the
date for submitting the report changes from March of each year to the second Wednesday of May. Third, SB 1162 expands the information required to be included in pay data reports to include median and mean hourly rates within each job category by race, ethnicity and sex. Fourth, the bill requires employers who have 100 or more employees hired through labor contractors to file a separate pay data report covering those employees. And finally, the legislation establishes significant civil penalties for
failure to submit pay data reports.
Most of the debate this year around SB 1162 focused on a “public shaming” provision that would have required pay data reports to be disclosed to the public on a state website. Thankfully for employers, that provision was stricken from the bill before it made it to the Governor’s desk.
SB 1162 also addresses an issue that has been part of a growing trend in other states and local jurisdictions. The bill requires employers with 15 or more employees to include pay scale information in any job postings. The bill provides for administrative or civil enforcement of these and related provisions. A full summary of the new law can be found here at fisherphillips.com/ news-insights/california-joins-growing-list-of-jurisdictions-to-require-payscale-information-in-job-postings-7things-you-need-to-know.html.
After several prior unsuccessful attempts, California has enacted a bereavement leave requirement into law. Assembly Bill 1949 applies to employers with five or more employees and allows employees to take up to five days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member (using the same definition of “family member” as under CFRA.)
Bereavement leave under AB 1949 is unpaid, but an employee can use other available paid time such as vacation pay, personal leave, sick leave or compensatory time off. Bereavement leave must be completed within three months of the death of the family member and is only available to employees who have worked for the employer for at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the leave.
Importantly for employers, the provisions of AB 1949 are in the Government Code rather than the Labor Code (meaning there will not be the possibility of PAGA claims for alleged violations of the law.) A full summary of the new law can be found here at fisherphillips.com/news-insights/ california-mandates-unpaid-bereavement-leave-employees.html.
44 West Coast Nut May 2023
Proposals will also impact employees’ efforts to organize.
Family Leave to Care for “Designated Persons”
California’s family and medical leave law has seen some dramatic expansion of late. In recent years, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) has been extended to cover smaller employers and expand the definition of covered family members to include adult children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law.
CFRA will now be extended even further with the governor’s signature of Assembly Bill 1041. It provides that in addition to the already-covered family members, an employee can take job-protected leave to care for a “designated person.”
The bill defines a designated person to mean any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the “equivalent of a family relationship.” The legislation does not clearly define what this means, so many employers are likely to be left scratching their heads trying to determine if
someone is the equivalent of a family relationship.
AB 1041 provides that an employee may identify a designated person in advance and that an employer may limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period. A full summary of the new law can be found at fisherphillips.com/ news-insights/california-expands-family-paid-sick-leave-care-designated-person.html.
Emergency Conditions: Retaliation
Brought in response to concerns over reports of employees being required to work in unsafe wildfire conditions, Senate Bill 1044 prohibits an employer in the event of an “emergency condition” from taking adverse action against an employee for refusing to report to, or leaving, a workplace or worksite because the employee has a “reasonable belief” that the workplace or worksite is unsafe.
An emergency condition is defined
to mean 1) conditions of disaster or peril caused by natural forces or a criminal act, or 2) an order to evacuate a workplace, worksite, a worker’s home or the school of a worker’s child. Notably an emergency condition does not include a health pandemic, so SB 1044 will not be applicable to employees that claim the worksite is unsafe due to COVID-19.
An employee’s belief that the workplace is unsafe is “reasonable” if a person under similar circumstances would conclude there is a real danger of death or serious injury if that person enters or remains on the premises. A full summary of the new law can be found at fisherphillips.com/news-insights/california-employers-face-challenges-prohibiting-retaliation-emergency-conditions.html.
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WORD FROM THE BOARD: THE ALMOND BOARD OF CALIFORNIA
Cutting-Edge Tools Boost Efficiency in Almond Board Marketing
By ALMOND BOARD OF CALIFORNIA | Contributing Writer
The Almond Board of California’s (ABC) partnership with one of the most respected research companies in the world has been paying big dividends for the Global Market Development (GMD) team and is filling a crucial need in this fast-changing era of ever-shifting trends, media use and consumer tastes.
The GMD team has partnered with Nielsen, the global leader in measuring and analyzing markets, data and media, using a tool called Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) that lets ABC adjust its spectrum of marketing efforts almost on the fly to make every campaign, dollar and piece of information as impactful as possible.
The most recent MMM results have shown that ABC media is working despite strong headwinds, and recent campaigns have reached new heights.
Health messaging, specifically the new social ads featuring heart health and diabetes, exceeded benchmarks and were some of the top-performing tactics in social media.
ABC’s Thor: Love and Thunder partnership showed very strong performance in the U.S., Italy and U.K.
The U.S. Your Friend in Wellness campaign showed stronger effectiveness and lift compared to the prior campaign.
Year-over-year cost optimizations made in the U.S. and Italy paid off, improving overall campaign performance in both markets.
While a lot of ABC media performed above industry benchmarks, the March Madness flight fell short when compared to Thor: Love and Thunder and Your Friend in Wellness campaigns.
“This leading-edge analysis helps us
make the best use of every dollar we spend building demand in the U.S. and across the globe,” said Emily Fleischmann, ABC vice president of Global Market Development. “Just as importantly, it helps us continue to finetune every marketing effort to build on our longstanding success and make everything we do even more effective.”
In short, ABC is using MMM to analyze and compare the effectiveness of
a range of ABC marketing campaigns in different markets in the U.S. and Western Europe, and it can evaluate individual tactics of one advertising campaign, ranging from online video, social media and TV ads to public relations, sponsorships and more. Plus, the information and learnings can be
46 West Coast Nut May 2023
Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) allows Almond Board of California to adjust its spectrum of marketing efforts almost on the fly to make every campaign, dollar and piece of information as impactful as possible.
helpful to other marketing efforts in several ways.
Often, traditional marketing analyses face difficulties equating metrics from individual marketing tactics because the information comes in different forms, like trying to compare the salary value of a player in the NBA versus a player in the NFL.
But Nielsen and MMM analytics transform that information into apple-to-apple comparisons so the GMD team can make the best, real-time decisions on how to reach consumers and optimize short-term marketing plans in the face of those fast-changing tastes.
“The core focus of the almond industry investment in ABC is directed at all of the marketing programs to build global demand, including advertising, public relations, influencer partnerships and much more worldwide,” Fleischmann said. “So, a core focus for ABC is measuring and evaluating those programs to be sure every dollar has a maximum impact.”
Marketing Mix Modeling
What Nielsen does for ABC is called regression analysis. They sort through all the incoming data and potential impacts on retail snack almond sales and demand, then find the programs that create the most value and measures the degree of that value.
The analysis uses sophisticated math that considers everything from economic factors, exchange rates, cultural differences and the size and nature of the target audiences to the impressions generated, the amount spent on a program and the tools and media it was spent on. It also filters away the outside forces, including seasonal trends, instore promotions and everything in between. This fancy math lets ABC isolate certain elements of marketing to learn why sales went up or down.
All of this is being done by Nielsen, the acknowledged world leader in market research and the gold standard in MMM. They’ve been honing their approach for 30 years and are now in 40 countries working for more than 500 brands, including some of the world’s largest companies.
The result for ABC and the almond
industry is a clear picture of the return on investment (ROI) for campaigns and tactics.
“This gives us data and solid insights about which marketing components, campaigns and even specific parts of a campaign or media placement are working the hardest for us,” said Laura Morin, ABC director of North America and China global market development. “ABC’s primary marketing goal is to build long-term demand, and a crucial part of that is understanding the nearterm impact of our tactics so we can adjust if necessary to make them even more effective.”
Almond Board Marketing is Working
If there is one overall takeaway from the recently pulled data, it’s that ABC marketing plans are working hard for the industry. That’s the findings after ABC used MMM to evaluate all marketing tactics in the U.S., Italy and U.K., including public relations activity, influencer partnerships, traditional media and digital media, like social, connected TV and ads on Amazon.
“While the industry has been facing a lot of headwinds this past year,” Morin said, “MMM results show that the Almond Board’s marketing efforts have made a strong positive impact for the industry.”
Key highlights from FY 2021/22 include:
performing fully integrated partnerships since they started using MMM. When looking at all the Thor campaign elements combined, the effectiveness outperformed the benchmark for the category. In fact, ABC’s Thor partnership outperformed past partnerships including the 2021 Olympics campaign featuring Kerri Walsh Jennings and the 2019 Women’s World Cup campaign featuring Julie Ertz.
Consumers loved the thunder
The partnership with Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder in summer 2022 was one of ABC’s strongest
Consumers are hungry for nutrition research
A recent Facebook and Instagram campaign featuring findings from ABC’s nutrition research on almonds and blood glucose showed promising results in all three markets. This efficient social campaign using ads that were relatively less expensive to design and run, versus paying more for development or spokespeople, outperformed the consumer-packaged goods industry’s benchmarks and Nielson’s benchmark in the U.S. for consumer-packaged foods in social media. Because of these promising results, ABC is now testing more social media advertising that features hard hitting facts about almond nutrition research.
Tik-ing or tube-ing, they both work
Your Friend in Wellness ads on social media platforms such as TikTok and YouTube are working. ABC continue to see high performance metrics compared to other social platforms.
ContinuedfromPage46 48 West Coast Nut May 2023
Amazon is a strong investment
The new digital display ads with Amazon were one of the stronger investments added to the mix this past year. The advertising through Amazon with digital display had almost three times the effectiveness scores than the ABC average. Because of the high effectiveness scores, the team is seeing how this program element could be expanded.
“One example is March Madness,” said Morin. “It’s an exciting place to advertise, but MMM showed the cost of media is too high, which means that dollar-for-dollar, the ROI wasn’t as good as our general TV placements. Instead, ABC’s U.S. team is putting more budget into additional Amazon placements and more traditional TV, which delivered a stronger return.”
MMM can also help marketers be smarter about how they buy and schedule media in places like social media platforms, TV, digital media and more. For instance, MMM found the Facebook and Instagram placements for Your Friend in Wellness in the U.S. needed to be adjusted because we had oversaturated the market. The good news is
ABC could make small shifts immediately to put these learnings into action.
Making MMM a Standard Practice
Measuring marketing efforts can be complicated, but Nielsen’s MMM is a tool that goes a long way to help the ABC teams interpret what happened in the market and adjust upcoming plans.
“ABC is always looking for ways to apply a range of information and learnings to future plans to make them stronger,” Fleischmann said. “This is another sophisticated arrow in our quiver to keep building demand to support our industry.”
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Seeing results from applied learnings
In FY 2021/22, ABC adjusted its influencer and registered dietitian outreach based on MMM learnings and it worked. In fact, these tactics doubled in effectiveness year-over-year.
Working Smarter... and Harder
ABC is using the most recent MMM results to optimize marketing tactics happening as early as this winter and spring.
May 2023 www.wcngg.com 49
How to Prep Your Nut Orchard for Sale
By STEVE PASTIS | Contributing Writer
If you are considering selling your nut ranch or orchard, first take a good look at its appearance and then make all necessary improvements.
“First impression is very important,” said Nick Wallander, agent with Stromer Realty Company of California, who estimates that appearance may only be 20% to 30% of what determines a sale, “but it’s the main factor you can change.”
He recommends a seller make sure all trees on the property are trimmed properly and that any broken sprinklers are repaired.
“Make sure the water pump is working and that your wells are in opera-
tion,” he said. “If not, get them replaced or get them repaired.”
“If a property doesn’t look like it’s been taken care of, buyers wonder, ‘What else have they scrimped on?,’” said Scott Schuil, vice president/principal/agent with Schuil Ag Real Estate. “A clean orchard is important. Mow weeds and clean up, especially if you have graffiti, trash or chemical containers on your property. There should be no furniture outside, and if people are dumping on your property, clean that up.”
However, it is possible to overspend on improving the appearance of your orchard, noted Schuil. Some sellers
spend too much money on things like gravel roads or “a nice sign.”
Main Factors in a Sale
The two biggest factors that drive sales are production and the amount of available water, according to Schuil. The security of surface water should be from “a very reliable source,” and there should be a second source such as an irrigation district.
The main factor in selling a nut ranch or orchard is the kind of nuts it grows, said Wallander, “but you can’t switch trees out that quickly.”
He also ranked water as the second most important factor, echoing Schuil that buyers prefer properties with a “dual source” for water such as good wells and being part of a water district as a backup source.
“It’s insurance in a lot of farmers’ eyes,” said Wallander. “If you don’t have good water, you’re not going to have a good crop.”
A ranch “absolutely” needs to be active to maintain its value, according to Schuil.
“Value of a property is very much based on production, and production is directly related to the care and inputs provided to the orchard,” he explained. “In permanent plantings like almonds and walnuts, it is vitally important that the orchards are actively farmed and follow best agricultural farming and production practices to maintain their
Commercial ag realtors offer advice for getting the most from an orchard sale.
A clean orchard is important in making a good first impression (all photos courtesy Samuel Marshall, Schuil Ag Real Estate)
50 West Coast Nut May 2023
Many brokers believe the best time of year to sell a nut ranch is springtime.
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value. If almond and walnut orchards are not tended to and severely decline, the chances of rehabbing them and bringing them back to a full production position are extremely low.”
He noted, however, that pistachios “are a bit hardier and can withstand more stresses, making their chances of a rehab more likely.”
“Production and water are two key elements behind the sale or purchase of nearly all agricultural properties,” said Schuil. “In the case of production, it’s important to have production records from the processor to verify the orchard’s productivity. It also breaks down not only variety, but grades, sizing and quality, which are all key components to the production and profitability of an orchard.
“As for water reports, we like to secure a 10-year historical delivery of surface water from the irrigation district associated with the property,” he continued. “If the property is in a lesser-known irrigation district, we typically recommend a third-party water supply analysis be conducted to provide buyers with the confidence in a water supply to move forward with a purchase.”
Schuil also advises sellers to keep bills of expenses, such as water, spraying and employee costs, “to get reimbursed properly.” If your ranch is organic, make sure all organic certification is up to date.
Buyers will need to see your production records to know what blocks you have on your property, which ones are younger or older and what nuts they produce, said Wallander. Your paperwork should include information on tree health, showing that your trees have all the proper minerals and fertilizers.
Houses on the Property
Wallander, who is based in Yuba City in Northern California where buyers may want to leave a career in the San Francisco Bay Area to live on their own nut ranch, advises sellers to make
52 West Coast Nut May 2023
A nut orchard should have two sources of water, and a seller should provide records of surface water delivery from the irrigation district for the past ten years.
necessary improvements to the appearance of any houses on the property.
“Make sure it has fresh paint, mow the lawn and pull the weeds,” he said, adding buyers often want to make sure that any house has a strong foundation to work on. “Buyers don’t want to worry if the roof leaks.”
“Typically, houses have minimal value in the properties we sell,” said Schuil, who is based in Visalia in California’s Central Valley where most buyers are large growers looking to expand production. “Sometimes the house could be a benefit; sometimes it could be a negative.
“Each buyer is unique,” he continued. “Typically, they want the property vacated so they can tear the house down or keep it vacant.”
He estimates 90% of his clients prefer no residential dwellings on the property.
“You are a farmer, not a property manager,” he said. “Tenants will have many different issues.”
He noted that owners’ houses are more popular on nut ranches in Northern California, but if a nut orchard “is above 20 acres, it’s hard to put value on a house.”
Equipment and Employees
“Having the equipment included is definitely a plus,” said Wallander, based on the Northern California market that includes many buyers new to nut ranching.
“Most of the time, it’s better not to include the equipment in the property sale,” said Schuil. “We do understand there are some depreciation benefits to purchasing the equipment with the property, however, we always recommend buyers consult with tax accounting professionals to advise them on what is best for each unique situation.”
Having good employees can help influence a sale, according to Wallander, who explained that you may have had a dozen or more people work for you, but “having those two employees that you can definitely vouch for can be helpful for buyers who didn’t grow up in farming.”
Maintaining employees after a sale depends on the size of the orchard, according to Schuil. It can also be important if something on the property requires special training, such as a complex irrigation system.
When to Sell
The best time of year to sell an almond ranch is springtime, according to Wallander, “especially when you’ve had some rain. You should list in early spring when the almonds bloom or later in spring when walnuts leaf out.”
The worst time to sell is harvest, he added, because the work requires your employees’ attention and “they don’t care” about anything else. “The holidays are another slow time for sales.”
“It’s always a good time to sell,” said Schuil. “There really is no right or wrong time to sell your almond orchard. If you’re thinking of selling, my advice is that you keep an excellent record of all cultural costs associated with your orchard. When you’re ready to list your orchard, you can clearly identify terms that outline your reimbursement of these costs. The reimbursement of cultural costs and who
retains the profits from the crop are always negotiable.”
He added that even holiday season can be a good time to sell your orchard. Many buyers are looking to buy at the end of the year for tax purposes.
Mistakes to Avoid
The main mistake sellers make is “being unrealistic,” according to Wallander. “The market is not as good as it was two years ago. They’re not going to get those prices.
“Working with a reputable agent is good,” he added. “They can tell you the value of your property.”
Many brokers, including Stromer Realty, offer an “opinion of value,” which is like an appraisal but does not require a license. Some offer this service for free. This document incorporates factors such as recent comparable sales prices.
“We understand the prices in certain areas and can give the seller an idea of what the price should be,” said Wallander. “List with a reputable agent and listen to them, and don’t have preconceived ideas. It’s very rare to get top dollar despite those top dollar stories.”
Another big mistake that sellers make is not being able to provide important paperwork such as production records, said Schuil. “Nobody’s going to buy a farm without seeing production records.”
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Independent Consultants Serving Growers Since 1975
It is the consensus across California’s nut crop industries that mating disruption for navel orangeworm (NOW) is a foundational component of the integrated pest management program and adds significant value. Every article, conference and workshop in recent years validates the efficacy of this technology and encourages adoption.
Leading into the 2023 season, with many uncertainties on the horizon, growers were faced with the annual challenge of developing their management plans. Concerns over crop prices, input costs, and water availability contributed to the need for leaner budget approaches. In many cases, difficult decisions to reduce or eliminate mating disruption, along with activities such as sanitation and other important inputs, were deemed necessary.
In the months to follow, record rainfall hit the state, replenishing some much-needed water supply but also causing significant destruction to farmland across California.
Growers fortunate enough to have viable orchards this season now face the task of reevaluating the season’s harvest potential. Delivering the highest-quality crop is as important
Navel Orangeworm Mating Disruption: It’s Not Too Late for 2023
By Emily J. Symmes, Ph.D., Senior Manager of Technical Field Services, Suterra and Celeste Torres -Technical Field Specialist, Suterra
as ever to maximize quality bonuses, especially with potentially lower yields due to disease and less than optimal bee hours for pollination. Ensuring the highest payment possible may help offset these economic losses.
This means growers are looking for modest investments to increase quality by revisiting earlier budget decisions due to increased water availability and affordability, optimism regarding nut crop prices, and stabilization of other input costs like fertilizers.
Unfortunately, some valuable investments like sanitation and season-long aerosol mating disruption were not possible due to budgets and inaccessible fields. Despite the potential that a colder, wetter winter may have increased NOW overwintering mortality, the inability to achieve sanitation targets will result in higher mummy loads in many orchards. These mummies will serve as resources for the early generations of NOW that survived, building up substantial populations when this season’s crop becomes susceptible to infestation at hullsplit.
Also consider the relationship between crop set and percent NOW
infestation. Each in-season nut that makes it to harvest represents a resource (potential “home”) for NOW to infest and be detected at the processor, contributing to the reject percent on the gradesheet. Lower crop set resulting in fewer overall nuts per acre means fewer “homes” for NOW and a higher likelihood of any individual nut becoming infested, potentially leading to losses in quality bonuses.
Nuts in lower-yielding years are also typically larger with a looser shell seal and are therefore more easily infested by navel orangeworm. As a result, higher percent infestation at harvest might be expected in lower-yielding seasons under similar NOW pressure if not mitigated.
Because one adult female NOW is capable of laying hundreds of eggs, populations can increase exponentially, reaching extremely high levels from hullsplit through harvest when it is most critical to protect this season’s crop. Each successful mating that is blocked or delayed significantly decreases the population growth rate to reduce harvest damage.
While it may be too late this season to adjust certain aspects of the NOW program such as sanitation,
Ask an Expert Advertorial Brought to you by Suterra 54 West Coast Nut May 2023
Application of sprayable pheromone can be made using ground or aerial equipment as either a standalone or tank mix treatment (all photos courtesy Suterra).
there is still opportunity to use a targeted approach to keep mating disruption pressure on NOW populations. Many growers who were unable to commit to a season-long approach are now exploring other options to use mating disruption in their IPM programs, such as taking advantage of the flexibility and value that sprayable pheromones offer.
While season-long mating disruption of navel orangeworm remains the gold standard in nut crops, the versatility of sprayable pheromones provides the industry a more reactionary option when it comes to incorporating mating disruption into their programs. Similar to insecticide programs, sprayable pheromones allow growers and their crop advisers to make targeted in-season decisions, tailored to the specific needs of each individual block and operation.
The Science of Sprayable Pheromones
Sprayable pheromones are not a new technology. The first sprayable pheromone was registered in 1989 for the cotton pest, pink bollworm. Since that time, sprayable mating disruption products have been developed for a wide range of pests across the globe, including several key pests of specialty crops in California. Checkmate® NOW-F (referred to hereafter as NOW-F) sprayable pheromone was registered for navel orangeworm in California in 2019 and has seen continual increase in adoption by nut crop producers in the years since.
Classified as a capsule suspension (CS), this microencapsulated formulation has two primary components: the species-specific sex pheromone used to disrupt mating (the same ac -
tive ingredient found in the aerosol) and the “matrix” that protects it from environmental factors while ensuring consistent release over time. Each microcapsule can be thought of as a microscopic dispenser, with each application akin to applying billions of micro-dispensers to the orchard.
The Sprayable Toolkit
Sprayable pheromones introduce the same mode of action as other mating disruption products but are more comparable to insecticides when it comes to decision-timing, use patterns, and application methods.
Other mating disruption delivery systems like season-long aerosols provide full season pheromone coverage for eight months or more depending on product selection.
May 2023 www.wcngg.com 55
Figure 1. Navel orangeworm (NOW) pheromone trap capture in an almond block in 2022. Treatments included three applications of CheckMate® NOW-F with the Grower Standard insecticide program (NOW-F + GS) versus the non-mating disruption reference (Grower Standard insecticide program only). Black arrows represent the treatment timings. The first application was tank-mixed with insecticide and applied by ground; the second application was tank-mixed with insecticide and applied by air; the third application was standalone and applied using ultra-low volume equipment. NOW damage at harvest was reduced by 53% in the Nonpareils and 49% in the pollinizer varieties using this program.
These options require decisions for use to be made early in the year, should be applied in March or April, and require an additional labor investment to deploy.
In contrast, traditional insecticides are viewed as a tool that can be incorporated when, where and how often needed and are not expected to have long residual activities covering the entire season. Sprayable pheromones combine the best of both worlds: a long-lasting sprayable NOW management tool with the unique mating disruption mode of action. NOW-F can be readily incorporated into existing spray programs as well as applied efficiently as a standalone spray, requiring less labor than other mating disruption approaches.
When considered as part of the sprayable toolkit, sprayable pheromones have characteristics that are both similar to and distinct from traditional insecticides. Like insecticides, decisions for NOW-F use can be made throughout the season as needed, usage patterns are tailored
to each individual block, and it is applied using familiar spray methods. Differences between NOW-F and most traditional insecticides include coverage requirements, length of residual activity, pre-harvest intervals, re-entry intervals and maximum residue limits (MRLs).
CheckMate ® NOW-F can be applied using ground or aerial equipment as stated on the label. Effective sprayable pheromone formulations do not require complete coverage because the active ingredient is released into the air from the microcapsules where it will then contact the male antenna to inhibit mate location. This characteristic allows stand-alone NOW-F sprays to be applied at lower volumes and faster speeds than traditional insecticides.
The key to effective applications of sprayable pheromone products is to achieve uniform distribution of microcapsules in the orchard through adequate coverage (lower volumes, faster speeds, every-other-row application, etc.). Growers have used typical air-blast applications, ultra-low volume methods, as well as various types of aerial applications including drones.
CheckMate ® NOW-F sprayable pheromone has a four-hour re-entry interval, zero pre-harvest interval and is exempt from MRLs. Material cost at label rate is approximately $30/acre/application. NOW-F has a residual activity of up to 30 days, allowing for increased flexibility in application timing.
Part of an IPM Approach
To achieve the current industry standards for low NOW damage, in many situations a full IPM approach may be necessary. This includes mating disruption, sanitation, timely harvest and insecticide use as needed. Reduction of any components of the IPM program should be on an individual basis in consult among growers and their crop advisers.
As the manufacturer, we are often
asked how to best use CheckMate® NOW-F in almonds and pistachios. Like insecticides, there is no single prescription, allowing the program to be tailored to each individual circumstance and operation based on pest management needs and desired outcomes.
In general, there are many approaches that can be considered when using sprayable mating disruption. These may include tank mixes (“free-ride”) with other applications, sprays precisely timed to pest phenology (male “flights”), applying on calendar basis, employing a season-long approach, or various combinations thereof. Like many insecticide programs, the number of NOW-F sprays and spray timings in a given season varies by block.
In California nut crop systems, most reported use patterns take advantage of the compatibility to tank mix NOW-F as a “free-ride” with other sprays and are applied based on the coverage, volume and speed requirements of the other materials in the tank. Standalone applications of NOW-F can be made quickly at precise times or when other insecticides cannot be applied due to pre-harvest or re-entry intervals.
Mating disruption is recognized as an important foundation of the IPM program for navel orangeworm. Effective mating disruption programs do not necessarily require full-season investment and early commitment, which are particularly challenging in years with uncertainty and budget limitations. Sprayable pheromones offer the most versatility as part of a long-lasting and effective option to use with other sprayable management tools, allowing growers to integrate all the benefits of mating disruption with the added flexibility of a targeted spray program.
56 West Coast Nut May 2023
One adult female NOW can lay hundreds of eggs, increasing populations exponentially (photo by USDA ARS.)
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NUT GROWER DEALS WITH THE FALLOUT FROM THE MARCH MIRACLE
By KATHY COATNEY | Contributing Writer
March charged in like a lion with atmospheric rivers that carried heavy snow, rain and flooding into California, impacting nut growers up and down the state.
The weather has been crazy, according to Matt Anchordoguy, a nut grower in Tehama County. Anchordoguy grows 270 acres of almonds, 1100 acres of walnuts and 500 acres of oil olives. Anchordoguy said the North State has seen everything in 2023 from hail as much as 4 inches deep in some areas, several inches of snow and buckets of rain with 4 to 5 inches predicted in mid-March.
With the predicted rain, flooding was also a concern as temperatures warmed, which is bad news for growers worried about disease.
“The river is supposed to come up 11 feet they’re saying this weekend, and that might flood into some orchards,” Anchordoguy said, and he has orchards in Los Molinos that are at risk of flooding.
“When it gets to the flood stage, it just starts creeping in,” Anchordoguy said, and he’s right on the edge of the river.
The almonds opened later in 2023 (February 11 to 12) compared to 2022, when they opened on February 3. “We weren’t complaining,” Anchordoguy said. “We’re thinking that’s perfect because we had freeze damage last year, and that kicked the crop down a little bit.”
When the buds started opening this year, it was slow because of the cool ground temperatures and ground saturation.
“They didn’t just pop right open in one or two days, but the bees started working pretty good on the 14th and 15th, then the wind and cold temps kept them in the hives around the 16th and 17th,” Anchordoguy said, adding that was most likely all the bee days his orchards got.
On the positive side, the pollinators and the Nonpareils opened at the same time. “Sometimes, the Monterey’s don’t open up until a couple of days after the Nonpareils, but they were all open; the whole field was open all at the same time,”
Jim Britton firstname.lastname@example.org (559) 994-1221 Bri on Ag Consulting WHEN TO IRRIGATE? MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION AT THE RIGHT TIME IRRIGATION SENSOR SALES IRRIGATION CONSULTING 58 West Coast Nut May 2023
March brought on atmospheric rivers that spurred flooding in many growing areas in the state (photo by K. Coatney.)
Anchordoguy said, which allowed the bees to pollinate what was open.
But the weather wasn’t done with him. “On February 24, we had 4 to 6 inches of snow,” he said, adding one of his new orchards where the tree cover is 16 inches high had snow halfway up the covers.
“We only need 15% of the pollinated fruit to make it, so we’re probably okay,” Anchordoguy said, adding he estimates 70% of the blossoms were already opened by the time it snowed.
Surprisingly, Anchordoguy has seen no damage from the snow. “The temps didn’t go below 31 degrees [F], so we don’t think there’s any damage. Everything looks good.”
Anchordoguy had some cold temperatures in early March, but there wasn’t any damage. Turns out that frost event was warmer than expected (29 to 30 degrees F).
Rain brings on more challenges, particularly warm rain because it brings disease. “We have to spray our fungicides. We’re already on our second fungicide, and that’s just expensive with the way the market is,” Anchordoguy said.
“Last year, we got away with probably just two fungicides, but this year we’re already on our second one, and
we’re going to be spraying every two weeks,” he continued, because the rain isn’t letting up.
To add to an already difficult start to the season, the frost event in early March was when Anchordoguy was supposed to spray, but he had to turn on the sprinklers instead to raise the temperatures in the orchards. This resulted in additional costs because he had to pay helicopters to make the spray application instead.
“We couldn’t spray with our ground rigs which costs less,” Anchordoguy said, and because the grounds are so saturated, he’ll probably have to use aerial applications for future treatments.
“It’s just that extra added expense when we’re trying to cut expenses everywhere we can. But you still want to push a good, healthy crop in case the market turns around, and that means you’ve got to keep the trees healthy,” Anchordoguy said.
“We’ll be spraying another systemic nutrition and a fungicide,” he said, to protect the almond trees from anthrac-
nose and jacket rot.
Using ariel sprays versus a ground spray means it doesn’t get up in the canopy, which is why Anchordoguy is using systemics.
“With the helicopter, you’re only getting 20 gallons of water per acre with the chemical, whereas with the ground rigs, we’re getting 100 gallons. So, we’re spraying it up through the tree from the bottom and then it’s settling back down from the top,” Anchordoguy said, which is why he gets better coverage with the ground rig.
These diseases aren’t so much yield loss as tree health. “That’s why you’ve got to spray,” he said.
If weather conditions continue, there will be blight sprays for the walnuts, too. “That’ll be depressing at 30 cents a pound for walnuts,” Anchordoguy said.
“We’re going to keep farming the best we can. I don’t want the
ContinuedonPage60 May 2023 www.wcngg.com 59
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blight to get us,” he said, but if he doesn’t treat for these diseases and prices turn around next year, the trees won’t be at full production.
“You’ve got to look for the positive, and look to the future, and be ready because there’s going to be opportunity and you want the trees to be healthy,” Anchordoguy said.
The last three years have been challenging between low prices and high input costs, chemicals and diesel prices, especially, Anchordoguy said.
The almond market is currently in the toilet, and he’s not hearing much good news on pricing other than it’s come up slightly.
“We heard Nonpareils were down at $1.40 to $1.45 a pound and they’ve come up to $1.50 a pound, so it may be headed in the right direction. I think we’ve probably hit bottom just because this is the first year the actual acreage has not grown. It’s either flat or it’s gone down, and we’re expecting a lighter crop, hopefully,” Anchordoguy said, which will help put supply in line with demand.
Walnut prices remain bleak. “It’s depressing to say the least,” Anchordoguy said. “We just have so many problems. I mean, it’s the ports, it’s the value of the dollar, it’s inconsistency in our pricing (too many handlers), people that have to dump product. Even our customers in Vietnam, South Korea and Japan are saying, ‘Why are you even selling these walnuts so cheap?’ They could pay twice as much no problem.”
These buyers don’t want to inventory more than two weeks’ worth of kernels if the price is going to drop every month or every two weeks, he continued. “We need to stay at a consistent price,” Anchordoguy said.
The good news with walnuts is they aren’t impacted by the flooding because they are still dormant since it’s been so cool.
“The walnut trees this year should
Exempt www.sym-agro.com ContinuedfromPage59
60 West Coast Nut May 2023
Matt Anchordoguy’s almond orchard with beehives in snow. Almonds opened later this year compared to last year due to wetter weather and cool ground temperatures (photo courtesy M. Anchordoguy.)
just explode when they bloom. I think they’re going to feel great because they’ve been asleep since November with winter temperatures in the high 30s to low 50s. The walnuts are definitely sound asleep right now. They’re not going to push for a while, and they’ll probably push a little bit late, which is what we need. This deep moisture, these cool temps is the best thing for the walnuts,” Anchordoguy said. Even with all the challenges, Anchordoguy still believes things will turn around and there will be better days for growers in the future.
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WINTER STORM DAMAGE
If winter storms, snow, hail, wind, extreme weather and temperatures have caused the tree or your bloom/crop damage or loss, it’s important to know your options. First, notify and document.
NOTIFY your insurance agent, County Ag Commissioner and County USDA Farm Service Agency of any damages you see or experience on your own operation.
ance pursues disaster relief and recovery resources from state and federal agencies. Please feel free to send pictures or estimates of damages and loss to the Almond Alliance.
Disaster Assistance Tool, (www.farmers.gov/protection-recovery/disaster-tool): Learn about what options are available to you.
T. +1 (720)586 6545 firstname.lastname@example.org www.optimum-sorting.com
damages with pictures (dated) or a report by your agronomist or PCA.
It may be too early to tell specifically the extent of your damages or loss; however, it is important to notify proper offices and document the type and location of damages or losses you experience. To go on the record having reported damages/loss and request a disaster declaration from the county (Ag Commissioner) and county committee (FSA). This information will be critical as the Almond Alli-
Innovative optical sorting solutions for the nut industry
USDA TAP (www.fsa.usda. gov/programs-and-services/ disaster-assistance-program/ tree-assistance-program/index): Damages and loss to the tree or vine
USDA Micro-Load (www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farmloan-programs/microloans/): Quick low-interest loans up to $50,000
Almond Alliance: Nicole Gault (209-300-7140 or NGault@AlmondAlliance. org); Aubrey Bettencourt (Aubrey@AlmondAlliance. org)
Grower Matt Anchordoguy, whose Tehama County operation consists of 270 acres of almonds, 1100 acres of walnuts and 500 acres of oil olives, said his operation has been adversely affected in different ways by 2023’s unusually wet weather (photo courtesy M. Anchordoguy.)
May 2023 www.wcngg.com 61
IR-4: PAVING THE ROAD FOR PEST MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS IN THE NUT INDUSTRY
By KARI ARNOLD | Ph.D., Regional Field Coordinator, Western Region IR-4 Project
For 60 years, The IR-4 Project continues to serve the specialty crop industry by increasing pest management solutions for growers. IR-4 stands for Interregional Research Project #4, which may be a bit of a mouthful and a relic of its past, but its impact in the nut industry and other specialty crops is immense.
IR-4 specialty crops include fruits, nuts, herbs and vegetables recommended for a healthy diet, as well as flowers, trees and shrubs that enhance our environment. It’s no mystery in today’s world consumers demand high-quality produce and plants. Managing harmful insects, weeds and diseases are all difficult tasks for today’s growers given current pest populations, exotic and invasive species, resistance management, regulatory restrictions, residue mitigation, organic food production and many other challenges. Access to pest management solutions is essential.
What Does IR-4 Do?
The mission of IR-4 is to facilitate regulatory approval of sustainable pest management technology for specialty crops and specialty uses to promote
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62 West Coast Nut May 2023
David Ennes and Keri Skiles, field research directors at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, work on IR-4 almond trials (photo by Mika Tolson, IR4 Project.)
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the registration of pest management products by conducting necessary crop safety, efficacy and residue research. This data is then submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other entities for the registration and approval of requested uses. IR-4 also supports the international harmonization of pesticide residue standards. This enables U.S. specialty crop growers to have access to international markets where American-grown fruits and vegetables are in demand and considered the highest quality. Proof of IR-4’s commitment and service to producers is unsurpassed; the Project’s research efforts have yielded over 23,000 use registrations in the past 60 years.
What has IR-4 done for the Nut Industry?
Numbers don’t lie; IR-4’s efforts have led to the registration of 132 new use patterns in almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans. See Table 1 for new use patterns by crop. Please note: Each of these successes began with a request from a stakeholder, producer, extension agent or academic working closely with industry.
Where is IR-4 Located?
IR-4 research takes place at many land grant universities and USDA-ARS facilities across the country. Headquartered
at North Carolina State University, IR-4 has regional facilities at the University of Florida; University of Maryland, Eastern Shore; Michigan State University; and the University of California, Davis. There are also liaisons in every state working with local growers to identify safe and effective solutions for pest management.
How did IR-4 get here?
The agrochemical industry often lacks the financial incentives to register their products to specialty crops due to limited sales, high crop damage liability concerns and the significant expense of required research. Prior to 1950, pest control options like those registered in large-acreage crops (wheat, corn, soybean, etc.) were not available to specialty crop growers. Furthermore, minor use patterns on major crops left a deficit to grower needs as well. This dilemma was coined the “Minor Use Problem.” In the late 1950s, State Agricultural Experiment Station (SAES) Directors, university extension agents and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognized the need to develop processes for registering agrochemicals for use on specialty crops and minor uses on major crops. As a result, in 1964, an Interregional Research Project Number 4 titled Evaluation of Current Data and Needed Research to Determine Tolerance Limits of Chemicals for Minor Uses on Agricultural Products was created . I’m not sure what IR-1, -2 or -3 were, but IR-4 was born.
Today, the IR-4 Project operates as a unique partnership between USDA (both the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the State Agricultural Experiment Stations (SAES), U.S. EPA, the agrochemical industry, commodity groups and growers. In recent years, additional partnerships formed with USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) supporting international specialty crop export activities, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) working on selected invasive species, the Department of Defense’s Deployed Warfighter Protection Program (DWFP) providing regulatory support for public health pesticides, and the California Department of Food
Crop # New Uses Pecan 36 Walnut 9 Almond 23 Pistachio 41
Phone Western Region Kari Arnold (530) North Central Region Nicole Soldan (517) Southern Region Janine Spies (352) Northeast Region Marylee Ross (410) ContinuedfromPage62
IR-4 Regional Ofﬁce Name
64 West Coast Nut May 2023
Table 1. Data available here can also be found in greater detail at ir4app.cals.ncsu.edu/Ir4FoodPub/fullSearch.
IR-4 began with an initial investment of $25,000 from the SAES in 1963. USDA-NIFA now supports the program at a far greater level due to the changing needs of producers and the ever-growing cost of doing research. The Western Region of IR-4 is also co-supported by CDFA for California trials and California-related needs. Furthermore, the IR-4 Project receives in-kind contributions from SAES, U.S. EPA, the crop protection industry, Canada and commodity associations.
IR-4 Evolves to Serve Producers and Consumers of the Future
IR-4 is constantly evolving to meet the needs of producers and consumers by providing tools for Integrated Pest Management and collaborating in global harmonization of residue levels. The Integrated Solutions Program focuses on research areas including pest problems without solutions, resistance management, residue mitigation and organic food production. The Biopesticide Regulatory Support Program furthers the development and registration of biopesticides by providing regulatory assistance to public sector scientists and small businesses navigating the EPA registration process. The Environmental Horticulture Program focuses on invasive species and pollinator protection. International efforts include harmonizing crop groups and maximum residue levels to reduce trade barriers for U.S. producers.
Please contact your regional office if you feel there is a need to be met regarding the registration of new uses and use patterns. To identify your region, please see Figure 1. Regional office contact information can be found in Table 2 .
How to Get Involved
One of the greatest collaborations of the IR-4 Project is its Commodity Liaison Committee (CLC). The IR-4 CLC consists of stakeholders who provide guidance to IR-4 Projects and how the organization can best serve their growers. Members are representatives of various commodity groups in the specialty crop industry. They also advocate for IR-4 to elected officials and decision makers. Contact your regional field office if you are interested in this committee.
We also host several regional/national events open to growers/producers/stakeholders:
Priority Setting Calls, via zoom, contact Regional Office for dates/time. Discuss current and past submissions to IR-4
and develop priorities.
Industry Technology Session, July 20, 2023, via Zoom. Industry representatives discuss various upcoming technologies for pest management.
Food Use Workshop, September 12-14, 2023, in Raleigh, N.C., with a Zoom option. Determine research priorities for the upcoming year.
For more information, visit our website at ir4project.org. Tired of Reading? Check out our 60 Years of IR-4 video, and feel free to share with your contacts at youtube.com/watch?v=9P42Gc5dHws.
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May 2023 www.wcngg.com 65
Table 2. Regional office contact information.
Answering the Question: Why Use a Cover Crop?
By JULIE R. JOHNSON | Contributing Writer
Why use a cover crop? That is the question to be answered by an ongoing Healthy Soil Program project partnership between Glenn County Resource Conservation District (RCD), California Olive Ranch, CDFA and California State University, Chico Center for Regenerative Agriculture.
As part of the partnership, Glenn County RCD created a
farmer-led Steering/Technical Advisory Committee made up of farmers and local experts on the topic to ensure a locally led process. The Glenn County RCD’s Healthy Soils Program Demonstration Project, titled “Using Cover Crops to Advance Soil Health and Reduce Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases,” aims to demonstrate how planting cover crops in olive orchards, and similarly for nut orchards, may advance soil health, increase carbon sequestration and positively impact farming operations.
With this project, the partnership is, in part, hoping to highlight opportunities for cover cropping while demonstrating the soil health benefits through a three-year trial (2021-23).
Soil health indicators being monitored in this project include soil organic matter, total soil carbon, total soil nitrogen, water infiltration and bulk density.
In addition, due to the importance of healthy soils, the partnership is working to help provide opportunities to farmers while also sharing information and learning more through those opportunities.
Cindy Daley, director of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at CSU Chico, explains cover cropping is used to keep the soil protected with plants that may or may not be used as an additional cash crop.
“The main purpose is to increase soil fertility and soil quality; to manage soil erosion; improve water retention; manage weeds, pests and diseases; and to increase biodiversity and native wildlife. Cover crops can also be used for forage,” she added. “Later in the season, the biomass left over after harvesting, grazing or after being mowed or roller crimped can be left on the ground to serve as mulch and to recycle nutrients back into the soil, otherwise known as green manure.”
And while the list of cover crop pros is lengthy, Daley shares there are a few considerations such as cost of seed and labor to plant and terminate the cover crop; it can take three to five years to see financial gains depending on previous farm and regional conditions; possible equipment expendi-
66 West Coast Nut May 2023
Daniel Unruh, a Colusa walnut grower, shows his personally custom-designed roller-crimper he uses to roll down his cover crops while crimping the stem (photo courtesy CSU Chico.)
tures; time to learn how to choose cover crops appropriately and manage them; and some long-term crop rotations may not be compatible with cover crops.
During a RCD Cover Crop Project presentation in Orland, Daley reiter-
ated the many good reasons for cover crops on orchard floors: provides armor on the soil; feeds soil biology; reduces erosion; improves water infiltration and water holding capacity; and improves nutrient cycling.
The project is being conducted on 156.1 acres on the California Olive
Ranch in Artois. For project purposes, the acreage was divided into 16 blocks of 8 to 10 acres each. Each block was then randomly assigned to two treatContinuedonPage68
An ongoing Healthy Soil Program cover crop project is being conducted by a partnership between Glenn County Resource Conservation District, California Olive Ranch, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and California State University, Chico Center for Regenerative Agriculture (photo courtesy Glenn County RCD.)
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Cindy Daley, director of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at California State University, Chico, explained the potential benefits of cover crops during a Glenn County RCD Soil Health Workshop in March.
ments, control and treated (six are controlled blocks, 10 treatment plots.)
“Treatment was planted September through December over the last three years, with seeding date depending on fall rains,” Daley said.
In the six control blocks there is no tillage or herbicide used.
The treatment plots were planted using a six-foot no-till drill with a variety of multi-species cover crop each fall, including mustards, radish, triticale, barley, oats and legumes.
“Those same plots relied on rainfall throughout the winter to grow; no irrigation was used,” Daley added.
Results for 2021-22
Over a two-year period, the cover crop increased aggregate stability by an average of 34.25%.
“This was significant,” Daley said.
Aggregate stability refers to the percent of aggregates that remain stable when exposed to disturbance; the less stable the aggregates, the more susceptible the soil is to erosion.
Daley reported there has also been positive results in bulk density after two years. When bulk density is at levels at or below 1.0, the soil is porous and has many air pockets encouraging plant growth.
“When soil is compacted, the soil surface crusts, causing
water runoff,” she said. “However, when the soil is porous, it allows water to percolate through the soil, reducing runoff and waste.”
In 2021 the project used a double ring infiltrometer to test infiltration rates. The next year, they used a Saturo Water Infiltrometer which measures water infiltration and saturated hydraulic conductivity instantly; however, the results so far have not been significant and are highly variable.
Data from two years of the three-year study show the cover crops did not impact crop yields to date.
Looking at the most recent data, including year three, Daley said the cover crop had a positive effect on aggregate stability, soil health and bulk density.
“We are seeing trends toward improved water infiltration and improved soil organic carbon,” she added.
Daley noted these effects happened through two significant drought years and without irrigation support.
During the RCD’s Cover Crop Project presentation, Colusa walnut farmer Daniel Unruh shared some of his experiences with cover crops.
He is in the process of transforming his conventional family farm to be a model for regenerative agriculture.
While he still uses limited fertilizers and chemicals, Unruh is finding his work of regenerating the farm’s soil is already paying off with thriving fields and higher net profits.
Kandi Manhart-Belding, executive officer at Glenn County Resource Conservation District, serves as moderator for the district’s workshop on its Healthy Soils Cover Crop Project in March (photo by J.R. Johnson.)
We are seeing trends toward improved water infiltration and improved soil organic carbon.”
" 68 West Coast Nut May 2023
– Cindy Daley, CSU Chico
According to Unruh, a large percentage of his success has been cover crops, reduced tillage and his own innovative farm equipment inventions designed to stimulate the cover crops to create biomass more efficiently.
The innovative farm equipment discussed at the project presentation was his custom-designed roller crimper.
Unruh plants his cover crops before the rainy season in the fall. Come spring, he uses the roller crimper to roll down the cover crops while crimping the stem.
He said the two processes terminate the cover crop and allow the material to decompose more quickly.
One thing that makes his design different is the use of chevron crimps.
“You drastically increase the efficiency when you put more weight and pressure on the ground when you have a chevron design because it’s using all of the weight on a shorter area than if you just had a flat bar.”
He believes rolling and crimping is significantly more beneficial to the practice of shredding the cover crop.
Daley explains microorganisms like a dark, moist environment with a stable temperature. With cover crops that environment can be created when the cover crop is rolled and decomposing.
However, that dense layer of decomposing plant matter can over time become a thick mat that becomes anaerobic, leading to an environment unfriendly to the development of microorganisms and friendly to unwanted pathogens.
Unruh believes a shredder doesn’t leave a friendly environment for microorganisms as the mat of plant materials becomes too dense and loses its ability to be aerated.
The RCD’s Healthy Soils Program (HSP) is part of the California Healthy Soils Initiative, a collaboration of state agencies and departments to promote the development of healthy soils on California’s farmlands and ranch lands.
The state HSP has two components: the Healthy Soils Incentives Program and the HSP Demonstration Projects.
The HSP Incentives Program provides financial incentives to California growers and ranchers to implement conservation management practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gasses and improve soil health.
The HSP Demonstration Projects aim to improve soil health, sequester carbon and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gasses; fund on-farm demonstration projects that collect data and/ or showcase conservation management practices that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and increase soil health; and create a platform promoting widespread adoption of conservation man-
agement practices throughout the state.
Apply for the EQIP, CSP, or CIG programs on the NRCS website: https://bit. ly/3vtUol9
CDFA Healthy Soil Program https:// bit.ly/3pidbh3
Seeds for Bees Project: https://bit. ly/3fNV4Lx
Where to Get Seeds: Check with local food representatives
Green Cover: https://greencover. com/
Kamprath Seed: https://www.kamprathseed.com/
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A newly emerging cover crop in a walnut orchard planted using Colusa walnut grower Daniel Unruh’s custom seeder (photo courtesy CSU Chico.)
Increased Precipitation Changes Everything for Growers This Year
By RICH KREPS | CCA, SSP., Contributing Writer
Iwas speaking to a friend of mine recently who happens to be a great farmer. He had a quote I had never heard before but one that is pertinent
to farming. His name is Tim Larson, and he said, “I don’t have 30 years of farming experience; I have 30 different farming experiences.” No truer words
have ever been spoken. Every year is different. Even in typical drought years, the timing when different heat waves hit us, and their severity, change our game plan a bit…. Or they should. This year, with rainfall and snowpack levels we haven’t seen in a while, we are going to have to overcome and adapt. CCA Derek Sissom likes to say, “It’s NOT business as usual!”
If there ever was a time to get your soil monitoring game on, this is the year. I have heard reports of sub-soil water levels back up to 8 feet in the Dos Palos, Calif. area. My well in Madera, Calif. is up 45 feet from its lowest depths last summer. Typically, here in the Central Valley, we don’t see the levels of standing water in our wells go up for a year after a big snowpack, if at all. This year, it’s up just from rainwater. Many of my farmers in Kings and northern Kern counties will not be able to farm this year at all. We haven’t seen this since 1983. It’s going to take a lot of work to get back to “normal.”
Monitor Your Soil this Year
There are significant choices on the market for soil moisture monitoring systems. Being a geeky tech-type of farmer, I originally bought a simple three-probe monitoring box that I installed in my field on a spot I thought represented an average of soil type
70 West Coast Nut May 2023
With soil moisture at unprecedented levels now is a good time to consider a soil moisture monitoring system (photo by M. Katz.).
and CEC. I had to physically connect a PC to the port every time I wanted a reading, but it would give me a good amount of detail of what my soil profile looked like. But it was an average and for that spot. Better, but not perfect. It helped in knowing when to turn on the water and for how long. It cost less than $1500 10 years ago. I then purchased two sensors connected by cell that would send information to my phone, in real time, with sensors every 6 inches down to 4 feet. This changed the game on knowing what the saturation levels were at any given time and how quickly I pushed water through the profile during every irrigation. Since then, I have installed a suite of data collection from Semios that monitors soil moisture, temps in canopy and above, full weather stations and a dendrometer that measures fractions of movement in trunk size. It not only helps me dial in my irrigation and, more importantly, fertigation, it confirms my trees are actually responding to my inputs and continually growing.
These systems aren’t cheap, but in typical years, the water savings can be tremendous. Input use and effectiveness is nothing to ignore. A 70- to 100unit nitrogen savings in input costs in a year mean a lot to me. Going from 250 units to 150 is a big deal. At over $400/ ton for UAN-32, that’s $160 to $230/ acre you could potentially save. And that’s just in nitrogen. Knowing you are applying nutrients to a level where all your feeder roots are and allowing it to stay there for a few days before another irrigation set and ensuring more uniform absorption and efficiency can be critical. This year, water will be as cheap as it has been in a long time. However, most of us still have to pump it, and our electricity providers haven’t been cutting their prices at all. Now factor in the cost to turn those pumps on and calculate reducing those times by say 30%. Another significant savings. Imagine going from 4 acre-feet to an efficient 3 acre-feet of applied water.
I also purchased an injection system from Empirical Ag for my farm to make it easy to apply nutrients in spe cific amounts at specific times in my set. Being able to program and control four different tanks of nutrients with my
water every time the system goes on has been a godsend. My nutrient budgets have gone down as have my irrigation costs. These system costs took some calculations to see if they penciled out, but they have paid for themselves since I have installed them. And they are only a few years old. Specifically, pistachios don’t like wet feet. I may not have to turn my well on for an irrigation event until well after Tax Day. But that won’t stop me from applying nutrition early to ensure my trees have what they need to start the season right. A short set can get nutrients into the soil, just down to the feeder root level, and let Mother Nature do the rest. It’s tough for a tree to get the phosphorus it needs early for energy when it’s wet and cold. A little shot of orthophosphate goes a long way, applied correctly in the spring. Many of my farmers have been panicking they won’t be able to get enough nitrogen applied to hit the typical recommendation for N. Especially when N and P start high in the spring tissues. Applying a 50-unit slug to wet soil early in the
season is not the answer. You’re wasting your money on all but the heaviest soils that might be able to hold that much N. And if it keeps raining, you’re washing a bunch of that nitrate right through the feeder roots. Applying 12 units per week in short sets will be much more effective. I’m hoping a bunch of you keep emailing or calling me and verifying these tactics work for you like they have for me and my clients.
When it’s not business as usual (and when is it ever usual anymore?), we must adapt. This year, more than others, we will have to be super vigilant to get things right. Technology may not be your specific answer, but it has made my life a lot easier. Farming is hard work. ‘Easy’ is not a typical part of our lifestyle, but being more efficient with our water and inputs should be. When it increases the bottom line, it makes the “experience” that much better.
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May 2023 www.wcngg.com 71
RETHINKING YOUR HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION STRATEGY
By THERESA KIEHN | President/CEO, AgSafe
Heat Illness Prevention in the agriculture industry was in the spotlight once again earlier this year. In February, the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Occupational Safety and Health Appeal Board (Cal/OSHA) issued a decision regarding the provision of water at outdoor worksites, affirming it must be as close as practicable to where employees are working to encourage frequent consumption.
This decision stemmed from a complaint-initiated safety inspection at a vineyard in Napa Valley in August 2018. Water was made available for the crews; however, Cal/OSHA inspectors found farmworkers had to cross through grape trellises to access water. According to the inspectors, this did not meet the standard for being as close as practical. Cal/OSHA determined crossing through the trellises was an obstacle to the water and further discouraged the crews from drinking water. Cal/ OSHA maintained the employer had other reasonable options available such as providing a jug of water in each row where the employees were working or providing individual water bottles that employees could carry with them and refill from the jugs. In this case, the employer was fined a penalty of $27,000. This case provides all agricultural employers an important reminder to review their Heat Illness Prevention Plan to ensure it meets the regulatory requirements and protects your workforce. Every worksite is different; as such, make the necessary adjustments, provide training frequently to your employees and communicate often with your supervisors. This article will provide a refresher on what is required by Cal/OSHA and your responsibilities as an employer.
#1 Heat Illness Prevention Plan
A company must have a written Heat Illness Prevention Plan with the following elements, and include specific details as to how you will ensure that the provisions are met:
• The designated person(s) that have the authority and responsibility for implementing the plan in the field.
• Procedures for providing sufficient water.
• Procedures for providing access to shade.
• High-heat procedures.
• Emergency response procedures— don’t forget your lone workers (e.g., irrigators).
• Acclimatization methods and procedures.
When drafting your plan, it is important to consider the size of your crew, the length of the work day, the ambient temperatures and any additional personal protective equipment (PPE) that contributes as an additional source of heat. The plan needs to be in English and also the language understood by the majority of the employees. The plan must be located at the worksite and accessible to employees
#2 Heat Illness Prevention Training
Employee training needs to be done before an employee begins a shift which could result in the risk of heat illness. Training should cover the following information:
The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness as well as the added burden of heat load on the
body caused by exertion, clothing and personal protective equipment.
The employer’s procedures for complying with the plan’s elements, including the employer’s responsibility to provide water, shade, cool-down rests and access to first aid as well as the employees’ right to exercise their rights.
The importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water throughout the workday.
The concept, importance and methods of acclimatization.
The different types of heat illness, the common signs and symptoms, and appropriate first aid and emergency responses to the different types of heat illness. In addition, that heat illness may progress quickly from mild symptoms to serious and life-threatening illness.
The importance to employees of immediately reporting to the employer, directly or through the employee’s supervisor, signs or symptoms of heat illness experienced by themselves or their co-workers.
The employer’s procedures for responding to signs or symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical services will be provided should they become necessary.
The employer’s procedures for contacting emergency medical services, and when necessary transporting em-
72 West Coast Nut May 2023
Training must include the different types of heat illness, the common signs and symptoms of heat illness and appropriate first aid and emergency responses to the different types of heat illness (all photos courtesy AgSafe.)
The amount of shade present shall be at least enough to accommodate the number of employees on recovery or rest periods so that they can sit in a normal posture fully in the shade without having to be in physical contact with each other.
ployees to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service provider.
The employer’s procedures for ensuring that, in the event of an emergency, clear and precise directions to the work site can and will be provided as needed to emergency responders. These procedures shall include designating a person to be available to ensure that emergency procedures are initiated when appropriate.
Supervisor training needs to be completed prior to supervising employees and include the following topics:
All of the topics covered during employee training.
The procedures the supervisor is to follow to implement the heat illness prevention plan procedures.
The protocol a supervisor is to follow when an employee exhibits signs or reports symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency response procedures. How to monitor weather reports and how to respond to hot weather advisories.
#3 Adequate Shade and Water Shade
Adequate shade means blockage of direct sunlight. One indicator that blockage is sufficient is when objects do not cast a shadow in the area of blocked sunlight. Shade is not adequate when heat in the area of shade defeats the purpose of shade, which is to allow the body to cool. For example, a car sitting in the sun does not provide acceptable shade to a person inside it, unless the car is running with air conditioning. Shade may be provided by any natural or artificial means that do not expose employees to unsafe or unhealthy conditions and that do not deter or discourage access or use.
Shade needs to available when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees F. How do you know when temperatures hit 80 degrees F? Cal/OSHA urges employers to not rely on your cell phone because it does not reflect the site-specific temperatures. The best practice is to invest in and use an outdoor thermometer daily.
The amount of shade present shall be at least enough to accommodate the number of employees on recovery or rest periods so that they can sit in a normal posture fully in the shade without having to be in physical contact with each other. The shade shall be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working. Shade also needs to be available even when the temperature does not exceed 80 degrees F, upon employee request.
Employees shall have access to potable drinking water. It must be fresh, pure, suitably cool and provided to employees free of charge. The water shall be located as close as practicable to the areas where employees are working. Where drinking water is not plumbed or otherwise continuously supplied, it shall be provided in a sufficient quantity at the beginning of the work shift to provide one quart per employee per hour for drinking for the entire shift. Employers may begin the shift with smaller quantities of water if they have effective procedures for replenishment during the shift as needed to allow employees to drink one quart or more per hour.
Keep in mind the recent OSHA Appeals Board ruling and consider options to get water as close to employees as possible. Factor in keeping the water cool and your team’s plan for replenishment. Ensure your supervisors and crew leads regularly encourage employees to stop for water breaks.
AgSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit providing training, education, outreach and tools in the areas of worker safety, human resources, labor relations, pesticide safety and food safety issues for the food and farming industries.
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WALNUTS & ALMONDS WALNUT AND ALMOND PROCESSING EQUIPMENT Contact Us Today 3200 TU LLY ROAD, H UG H SON, CA • G ro ssi fa b r i ca ti on.co m 20 9.8 83.28 17 Serving the California Walnut & Almond Industry for over 25 years. Custom Sizing to Fit Your Needs CONTACT US TODAY TO GET A QUOTE FOR THE BEST PRICES • Receiving • Precleaning • Hulling • Drying • In-Shell • Shelling • Eletronic Sorting • Hand Sorting • Packaging Receiving • Precleaning • Hulling • In-Shell • Shelling • Almond Drying • Eletronic Sorting • Hand Sorting Packaging • Walnut Equipment Almond Equipment May 2023 www.wcngg.com 73
2023 Pistachio Industry Annual Conference Provides Key Information to Industry
By TAYLOR CHALSTROM | Editor
American Pistachio Growers wrapped up its annual conference in March, offering networking and education to the industry over a threeday period through seminars, a tradeshow floor and group activities.
APG President Richard Matoian kicked off the first day of seminars with the State of the Industry discussing pistachios’ good year in 2022 despite a multitude of challenges and highlighting achievements of the industry and APG.
The tree nut industry had a rough go in 2022 but persevered, and pistachios still came out strong thanks to efforts from growers and APG. Pistachio growers produced 884 million pounds of nuts in 2022 and increased acreage by over 18,000 while battling early season weather conditions and extreme heat. APG actively participated in the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance to get adequate representation for pistachios in the next Farm Bill and continued to effectively market pistachios domesti-
74 West Coast Nut May 2023
The 2023 Pistachio Industry Annual Conference provided key information on the state of the industry, global economic outlook, MRLs, pests, regenerative agriculture and more to attending growers, processors and industry professionals at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif. (all photos by T. Chalstrom.)
cally and internationally as shown in the organization’s 2022 Annual Report. The number of market opportunities for pistachios also expanded, and health and nutrition were at the forefront of many campaigns. Highlighting the conference were speakers Daymond John and Dr. Marci Rossell. John, an entrepreneur best known for his 13 ongoing seasons on ABC’s Shark Tank, spoke to pistachio growers, processors and industry professionals about best business practices to make a splash in domestic and international markets. Dr. Rossell, a world-renowned economist and financial expert as well as former chief economist for CNBC, discussed the global economic outlook and growth opportunities for the pistachio industry.
Other key talks included a review of international pesticide and MRL (Maximum Residue Level) policies with Alinne Oliveira, deputy director of global access at Bryant Christie Inc., and a look into California pistachio acreage historical trends, water use and SGMA (Sustainable Groundwater Management Act) considerations with Land IQ’s Dr. Joel Kimmelshue. Attendees also received updates in the areas of regenerative agriculture, nutrition management, navel orangeworm and stinkbug management, ochratoxin tolerations and government relations.
APG also celebrated the graduation of its 12th LeadOn pistachio industry leadership class during the conference. This program selects individuals, such as growers, consultants, marketing specialists and even real estate professionals among others, who are motivated to lead and advance the U.S. pistachio industry. APG recently announced its 13th LeadOn class.
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Shark Tank Entrepreneur Daymond John talks business with attendees at the 2023 Pistachio Industry Annual Conference. John discussed ways to infiltrate different markets and spread brand names and product information further outward.
May 2023 www.wcngg.com 75
Bryant Christie Inc. Deputy Director of Global Access Alinne Oliveira discussed the European Union’s pesticide policy and MRL requirements. As these policies continue to be updated, pesticide usage trends in California will continue to change.
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When combined with AgroBest 0-20-26, Zinc +5 D.L. gives growers the ability to maximize yields this season and build nutrient reserves in the tree for bloom strong early season growth and yield potential next year.
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