March/April 2024 - 22

DISEASE
Hazelnut
CROP
CONCERNS
BY DEBBIE EISELE
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
recent interview with Nik Wiman,
associate professor and orchard
specialist at Oregon State University
(OSU), uncovered a pressing concern for hazelnut
growers: the emergence of a new strain of Eastern
filbert blight (EFB). Wiman delved into the
discovery and implications of this worrisome
development with National Nut Grower.
Based on observational and experimental
evidence that had been collected up to that point
by Wiman and other researchers, the decision
was made in the winter of 2023-2024 to announce
that there was likely a new strain of EFB already
established in the northern Willamette Valley
capable of overcoming the resistance gene. Wiman
explained that while EFB has long been a concern
in resistant hazelnut varieties, the severity of
symptoms and rapid spread of the disease within
a specific orchard had raised alarms.
Genetic testing confirmed that the affected trees
were indeed resistant varieties, and OSU plant
pathology researchers confirmed the EFB from
the orchard of concern did indeed cause severe
infections on different resistant hazelnut varieties
in controlled experiments.
A
Impacts
New strain of Eastern
filbert blight has been
detected
Hazelnut production primarily thrives in the
Pacific Northwest, with the Willamette Valley
in Oregon serving as a hub for the industry and
it accounts for 99% of all U.S. hazelnut crops.
While efforts to establish hazelnut crops in other
regions are underway, such as the Mid-Atlantic, the
prevalence of EFB presents significant challenges.
Wiman emphasized the importance of proactive
scouting for signs of infection, especially in regions
where hazelnut production is nascent.
" Today, we produce around 99% of the US
hazelnut crop in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
There is a small amount of commercial production
in Washington state and the Fraser Valley in British
Columbia. There are efforts to get industries
started in other parts of the country like the Great
Lakes region and Mid-Atlantic where the climate
is suitable using highly resistant EFB-resistant
hazelnut varieties, " he said.
The economic viability of hazelnut cultivation
outside the Pacific Northwest region hinges on
effective disease management strategies and the
development of resilient cultivars. The disease's
endemic nature in the Pacific Northwest, coupled
22 MARCH/APRIL 2024

March/April 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March/April 2024

Editor's Letter
The blight phase of Botryosphaeria diseases in nut crops of California
Tree nut outlook for 2024
From the top
Water stress
Buzz pollination
Hazelnut crop concerns
Business
Almond Board of California
Ad Index
Events
March/April 2024 - 1
March/April 2024 - 2
March/April 2024 - 3
March/April 2024 - Editor's Letter
March/April 2024 - 5
March/April 2024 - The blight phase of Botryosphaeria diseases in nut crops of California
March/April 2024 - 7
March/April 2024 - 8
March/April 2024 - 9
March/April 2024 - Tree nut outlook for 2024
March/April 2024 - 11
March/April 2024 - 12
March/April 2024 - 13
March/April 2024 - From the top
March/April 2024 - 15
March/April 2024 - 16
March/April 2024 - 17
March/April 2024 - Water stress
March/April 2024 - 19
March/April 2024 - Buzz pollination
March/April 2024 - 21
March/April 2024 - Hazelnut crop concerns
March/April 2024 - 23
March/April 2024 - Business
March/April 2024 - 25
March/April 2024 - Almond Board of California
March/April 2024 - Events
March/April 2024 - 28
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