March/April 2023 - 23

PRODUCTION
Monterey variety in bloom.
Padre variety in bloom.
Since almonds and walnuts take a while to get
established, the trial plot is only now starting to see yields.
" We didn't really start seeing any yield advantage until
the almond trees were five years old, but now we're seeing
some true harvest fields, " said Kiester. " We were seeing
some yields in year three, but it wasn't anything to brag to
Mom and Dad about. "
Walnuts can take even longer to get established, and
Kiester isn't expecting to know the results on the walnut
trees until at least 2025 or 2026.
" We have some varieties that are surviving and some
that aren't surviving, " he said. " We're just getting some
bare/basic numbers from them at year six, and sometimes
it takes walnuts 8-10 years to get a true yield. "
Kiester says there have been several inquiries into
the viability of producing almonds in Idaho in past
years, both from in-state fruit producers and from
California growers who are seeking new opportunities
due to California's water supply issues. The most
common questions that growers still have revolve
around infrastructure. Harvesting and shelling in Idaho
presents a particular challenge, as almonds need to
be off the ground before the winter weather hits in
September. Idaho-based nut growers would need to
make a significant investment in machinery to get the
almonds out of the weather and dried, and Californiabased
growers looking to own orchards in Idaho would
still need to worry about the costs of transporting the
almonds back to California.
Still, the idea of moving into tree nuts is an attractive
one for many Idaho fruit growers who see it as an
opportunity to save significantly on labor costs. Because
nut trees require little pruning compared with other
fruits, the savings in that area alone may more than make
up for the other additional costs.
It looks like much of the data for the almond and
walnut trees in the Parma study is going to come out
as a positive indicator for growing potential in Idaho,
and if it does, more studies on other tree nuts will likely
follow. Kiester said that a few hearty pecan and hazelnut
Peerless variety in bloom.
varieties have already been put in, just to see what their
potential could be.
Will almond and walnut production in Idaho become
a new trend in the next few years? Kiester still isn't sure,
but definitely sees it as a possibility.
" There's a tremendous amount of interest and the potential
is huge, but the potential versus something taking off is a
different issue, " he said. " Over the next couple years we will
have the answer to these questions. "
ALMOND
PROCESSING
EQUIPMENT & SYSTEMS
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209.599.2148
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Ripon, CA 95366
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NATIONALNUTGROWER.COM 23
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March/April 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March/April 2023

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