Serving California producers and their professional advisors, covering almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree crops.


Owen Taylor, Editor



Some shaking has started in the lower San Joaquin Valley. More will likely start in the new week, with probably a wider effort during the week of July 28.


Nut fill continues to progress in pistachios. Flat mite are developing in some blocks.


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Vern Crawford, PCA, Wilbur-Ellis Co., Shafter:Almonds are really coming home. I’m sure some people started shaking this week. I haven’t seen any shaking, myself, but have been told about some machines running in spots. The Nonpareils are 100% split where I’ve been and all the pollinators are coming along.


“The NOW applications we’d planned were wrapped up in the middle of last week, so we’re in good shape. We went with the early application by ground, then came back 10 to 14 days later by air. We’ve gone with a program that doesn’t blow up mites.


“Some shaking will start in our trees in the last week of July, probably July 25 to August 1. Normally, we start in early August. Pistachios are filling out real good. I’m seeing some nice looking fields around.”


Dan Prentice, Prentice Ag Consulting, Bakersfield: “I’ve seen some almonds on the ground. None of my growers have started harvest yet, but I think they’ll ease into it on a limited basis over the next few days. Our second NOW spray has either been completed or is being finished now.


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“I’m monitoring and cracking nuts but haven’t seen much in the way of worms, just a few on edges. As you check deeper in a block, worms don’t amount to much. A tiny bit of spider mites are present in some hard-shell blocks that haven’t been treated in a while, and in those cases we’re trying to decide what to do, if anything. Beneficials are holding them down to some extent, so we’re trying to wait as long as we can. In soft shells we’re in good shape as far as mites go except for one block with corn on the edge.


“In pistachios, we’ve just started into the 2,200-degree-day spray timing for NOW. In other areas we haven’t quite reached that point. The nut fill has been going well. We still don’t have a good feel for what our blank percentages will be this year, but I think it will be a little higher than normal. Males were late blooming this year. They do seem to be shaping up, but it’s still a little too early to know anything for certain.”


Sheldon Childs, Valley Agronomy Service, Fresno: "We’re starting to get splits in Butte-Padre now. They're not stressed right now (7/18) but we’ll start purposely doing that right away and aim to get them to 18 to 19 bars to speed up the split.


“Split is moving along pretty fast in soft shells, and I think we’ll have some growers shaking within a couple of weeks (from 7/18). At this point we’re mainly watching out for mite blow ups. That’s really the bad side of stressing right now. At the moment, we’re not seeing anything with mites that would concern us, and everybody says that mites are pretty well under control. If we see them starting to rise, we’ll lay off the stress a little.”


Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties: “At this point, I’m thinking we will see almond shaking start in the first week of August. I’m not aware of anything that might be ready in July. When it got really hot, almonds really didn’t come on as fast as they had been. The first week of August is still early, just not as early as we'd been expecting.


“Our second hull-split spray is going out at Nickels Soil Lab. We’re looking at the third NOW generation developing about 10 days from now (7/18), so it looks like we’ll have nuts on the trees when that generation comes around. Nothing new in walnuts. No husk fly showing up. Growers are just keeping trees wet and hoping for rain this winter.”


Todd Fukuda, Weinberger and Associates, Hanford: “A grower on the west side started shaking almonds on Monday (7/14) and they’ve been steadily going this week. The hard part has been determining when to shake certain blocks. Plenty of nuts are dried up, but green hulls are still out there. Nothing has gone in yet, so it’s hard to say where the moisture mark will be.


Management Tip
from Chemtura AgroSolutions


Check Almonds for Stink Bug Damage

It’s easy to misidentify damage caused by stink bugs since it is almost identical to that caused by leaffooted plant bugs, note Integrated Pest Management experts with the University of California.


The biggest difference is that stink bug (also known as green soldier bug) damage occurs later in the season and does not result in nut abortion. Damaged nuts also can be recognized by strands of ooze, called gummosis, secreted from the puncture site. Kernels of damaged nuts either become wrinkled and misshapen, or if already hardened before bug damage, will contain a black spot at the puncture site.


Damage by stink bugs usually occurs from May through July.



“Spider mites have slowed down, and it looks like we’ve finally gotten them under control. We’re waiting now for Nonpareil harvest, then we’ll come back and do a spray for pollinators.


“In pistachios we’re seeing flat mite coming in. We’re finding them in fields that haven’t been sulfured but also in some where it was applied, and we’re monitoring flat mites pretty closely. Some mealybugs are coming back now. The next time we go through those blocks we’ll include Assail.


“We’re looking at timing for the 2,700-degree-day NOW application in pistachios at between July 27 and August 7. We’ll have to put out a residual and want to do this by ground. As much as possible, growers are transitioning their crews to night sprays if they want to include a material for adults. That way we’ll catch moths when they’re active.”



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AgFax Tree Crops, formerly AgFax Almonds, is published weekly during the crop production season.


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