January/February 2024 - 11

real-time data for weather. These improvements make
controlling irrigation autonomous.
" It can be done by phone or you can tie it into your soil
monitoring weather systems, so you don't even need to
do something if it rains. It just knows, " Wilson said.
Whole-orchard recycling
Roger Duncan, orchard crops advisor for UC
Cooperative Extension in Stanislaus County, has seen an
increased interest in whole-orchard recycling over the
last couple of years.
" It's become very common around here, " he said.
" There's been a lot of work being done in chipping all
the trees and reincorporating all the material back in
the ground before planting the next orchard. It's a pretty
large percentage for almonds and walnuts. "
As whole orchard recycling was pioneered for almonds,
Lewis noted she's seen rapid adoption of the technique
among almond growers.
It was born out of necessity as the San Joaquin Valley
Air Pollution Control District has outlawed the burning of
agricultural residue, she said. " Finding places to usefully
put the trees at the end of the orchard is a necessity, and
this is a great opportunity for growers to sequester an
enormous amount of carbon in the soil, " Lewis said.
Replanting in the same location benefits both the
environment and the grower agronomically.
" Research shows it improves water-use efficiency yield
up to 20% over the first five years of the next orchard, "
Lewis said. " As of last year, half the orchards that
renewed were practicing this. "
Regenerative ag processes
More focus today is on the regenerative ag processes
movement, as tree nut growers are utilizing shells and
nut powder for things such as mulching, composting,
converting to biochar and even erosion control.
Early stages of recent research among some growers
has shown shells can be a good source of potassium, and,
if put back as a compost application, can provide most if
not all of the trees' potassium.
" One of the things I love with regenerative is cover
cropping, " Lewis said. " There's been a three-fold increase
in the adoption of planted cover crops in almonds in the
last few years as growers have recognized it's a technique
that can be used to improve water infiltration. "
She also said a large percentage of California nut
growers use compost, usually green waste.
" There has been a large rate of adoption of compost
as a soil amendment to both increase the organic matter
over time and also as a nutrient source, " Lewis said.
" We're also seeing a lot of progress on more frequent and
low-dose application of fertilizers, particularly nitrogen
fertilizers. "
For almonds, Duncan said there's a lot of interest in
using an off-brand harvesting system and machinery that
can go up and over or under the trees to catch the nuts
instead of sweeping them up.
" If you can catch the nuts and haul them out of the
orchard without letting them touch the ground, it allows
cover crops to grow and you can apply compost or other
organic material to the ground without having to worry
about it interfering with the harvest process, " he said.
" It's not widely adapted and there are still some things to
work out, but there's rising interest. "
He also noted there's much incorporation of organic
materials, though research is ongoing in the value of
applying compost and benefits to trees.
Also making noise going into 2024 are some organic
farming methods or integrated pest management (IPM)
techniques that will be beneficial for growers.
" We're seeing growers utilize IPM with mating
disruption; so the introduction of sterile insects where
we're trying to 'un-breed' the population, " Wilson said.
" There is some good data people are seeing surrounding
that. "
Knowing pests are a constant challenge for growers,
ABC has been funding IPM research for decades.
" An interesting new activity we are getting launched is
to do third-party evaluation of some biopesticides, " Lewis
said. " This is adding another tool in the suite of IPM
options for conventional farming systems. "
A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is an
award-winning journalist who has been writing for almost 20
years. View his recent writing at keithloria.contently.com.
" We're seeing growers utilize IPM with mating disruption;
so the introduction of sterile insects where we're trying
to 'un-breed' the population, " Wilson said. " There is some
good data people are seeing surrounding that. "
Wes Wilson, American Pistachio Growers
http://keithloria.contently.com http://www.NATIONALNUTGROWER.COM

January/February 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January/February 2024

Editor's Letter
Precision pollination
Sustainable innovations
Pest Management
Data and novel technologies
A trusted name
Company Spotlights
Industry Events
Ad Index
January/February 2024 - 1
January/February 2024 - 2
January/February 2024 - 3
January/February 2024 - Editor's Letter
January/February 2024 - 5
January/February 2024 - Precision pollination
January/February 2024 - 7
January/February 2024 - 8
January/February 2024 - 9
January/February 2024 - Sustainable innovations
January/February 2024 - 11
January/February 2024 - Pest Management
January/February 2024 - 13
January/February 2024 - Data and novel technologies
January/February 2024 - 15
January/February 2024 - 16
January/February 2024 - 17
January/February 2024 - A trusted name
January/February 2024 - 19
January/February 2024 - 20
January/February 2024 - 21
January/February 2024 - Business
January/February 2024 - 23
January/February 2024 - Company Spotlights
January/February 2024 - Industry Events
January/February 2024 - Ad Index
January/February 2024 - 27
January/February 2024 - 28