By John Wood, Certis USA Regional Manager, CA South Central Valley
Harvest is here for most all of our California almond growers. Pistachio folks will come along with harvest in a month or so, but almonds are being shaken as we speak, which means the official end of this growing season is in our sights. It’s not time to hang up our hats just yet, though. There is still much work to be done to finish out the homestretch of this season.
There are some important steps to take and some pro-tips to consider to maximize your time during harvest and to make the most of your profits.
- Pre-Shake Inspection – If you haven’t already started shaking yet, or you are looking at a second variety in your orchards, check now to see if you have evidence of worm pressure on your almonds. If you see that evidence peeking out of your hulls, you have two choices to make quickly. You can either fire up your sprayer and hit your trees again with another round of spray or, depending on the maturity of your nuts, you can simply start an early harvest. After all, it’s the consumers you want eating your almonds, not the pests.
- Look for Ants – We’ve talked a lot about the damage that ants can do to your nuts when they hit the ground, but it’s worth repeating. If you have colonization of ants in your orchards, you still have time to treat your later varieties with our new ant bait product, Firefighter®. It is absolutely critical that you do everything you can to protect against these dangerous pests. If you see ants attacking your almonds as they dry, it would be wise to go ahead and sweep them up.
- Take a Sample – The University of California Integrated Pest Management Program recommends that you take a sample of your almonds after shaking and before sweeping. This is excellent advice because it will help you catalog what pressure your crops saw this year and plan for effective treatment for it next year. If you have damage that you are unfamiliar with, UC-IPM has a great pictorial chart to help guide you.
- Make a Record – As you are sweeping, or after your nuts are safely in the windrow, either yourself or your PCA should be doing a final inspection of your whole orchard floor, making notes of what weeds that your standard program missed or was ineffective against. Just like your almond sample, this will help you and your PCA plan for what to treat next season and will put you safely on the offense instead of defense.
The end is in sight, but we need to stay vigilant during harvest to protect what we have now and in the future. Happy harvesting out there, everyone!