- Scott Smith of the Associated Press reports on The Monterey Herald that nut prices in California are soaring, causing more and more fields to be converted to new orchards for almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, with the 2012 almond crop pegged at $5 billion. The soaring prices are also giving rise to theft attempts reminiscent of the Old West cattle rustlers, with thieves using falsified paperwork to claim nuts for phony deliveries and in some cases sneaking into orchards at night to steal nuts and equipment directly. A coalition of nut growers and processors formed a task force in October to seek the advice of law enforcement in methods to reduce the risk of theft.
- Warwick Long reports for Australia’s ABC Rural that a new, mysterious virus is plaguing the country’s almond trees, sapping their yield productivity. While only a small number of trees have been affected, the cause has yet to be determined and there’s currently no cure.
- Roger Duncan reports on The Almond Doctor blog that the University of California Extension will be holding field trials to research the new bacterial spot disease that showed up last season this year, as all current information on the disease comes from Australia where the disease has completely wiped out the Fritz variety. Duncan also suggests a list of recommended management steps for growers that experienced bacterial spot problems in 2013.