Wednesday, May 13, 2020

2020 Subjective Crop Estimate

The 2020 Subjective Estimate is 3.0 Billion pounds! From what I see in our area, I think that is probably correct.  A very good crop indeed.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Charlie cleaning his John Deere

Winter is a time for equipment maintenance.

Now that the rain has stopped (at least for a while) it is time to get ready to roll with a last minute cleanup.

This little dear is based in Colorado.

He loves almond milk!

Friday, February 22, 2019

This week I had the opportunity to meet a couple of young entrepreneurs, Ellie Symes and Wyett Wells, who have spent a few years developing a very promising approach to quickly evaluating colony strength using infrared technology (IR). An image of a colony is taken with a small IR camera attached to a smartphone. The camera simultaneously takes a visible light picture. The visible light picture is used to correct for some of the variables such as box color, construction features, and ambient and reflected light. Their software then evaluates the image to reliably estimate the strength of the bee colony within.

Check out their web site for more details: The Bee Corp 

A page from their website with a good image is HERE

(Regrettably I did not get a picture of them at the ranch. Next time!)

Monday, February 18, 2019


Here is a little issue that may need to be dealt with between growers and processors.  Processors have started noting the percentage of the popular Monterey variety, that are received as doubles, with the idea that some day there may be a penalty if doubles exceed a yet-to-be-determined level. Monterey is also popular in some inshell markets.

Pictured here are seven Monterey nuts arranged roughly by size from large to small, left to right.

The two largest nuts on the left are doubles. The shells containing doubles are always larger than those containing singles. In the process of making inshell product, some meats are produced, usually from the larger nuts. This means that those meats would contain a very high percentage of doubles!  Some allowance for this will need to be made if a processor desires inshell meats.  Growers will not want to be penalized for doubles in this case.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Yes, it's late Fall and our thoughts turn to what winter may have in store for us. Quoting from a recent article in WesternFarmPress, "Forecasters are confident that weak El Nino atmospheric conditions will set in as winter progresses".

This is rich!

"While El Nino conditions are known for producing wet, warm storms from the south, state and National Weather Service forecasters say there's an equal chance of below-normal, normal, or above normal precipitation in California this winter."

Now, doesn't that boost your confidence! (How can I get a job like that?)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Almond Farmers recognize the nuisance  of dust during harvest. A major new initiative supported by the Almond Board of California is to find methods of harvest that reduce the amount of dust. Here is an excellent article by Board member Brian Wahlbrink describing our efforts.

Working to reduce Dust at Harvest - Modesto Bee Article

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Dry and Green Nuts at time of shake
This is my first post in a very long time. I will try to maintain a regular posting as in the distant past. I'm sure I've disappointed my ones (not tens, not hundreds, but ones) of followers but take heart, I am back.

A big issue this year has been the very long time it has taken for the crop to mature. This is widely attributed to the very prolonged bloom we had in Feb/March.  The early pollenated blossoms began development with a three week head start on the latter blossoms.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Here is a link to a fun holiday video presented last week at the annual almond conference.  Hope you enjoy it, Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays greeting from the Almond Board of California

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Recently I had the privilege to host a visit from a French organization called Club DEMETER ( at the regional variety trial. This is an organization of upper management individuals from a range of agricultural companies with operations in France. They meet regularly in Paris and exchange ideas for promotion of agriculture and addressing long term challenges of production and sustainability.

They also take regular excursions to regions around the world to see how challenges are being met elsewhere. With the help of a translator, I tried my best to answer their questions about almond production and challenges the industry faces from a farmer's perspective.

At the end of our discussion session, I was delighted to discover that they had set up an area in the orchard where we enjoyed eating nuts and drinking some excellent French Champagne.  It was a real pleasure to spend some time with these very friendly people.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

We are now sweeping the mid-season varieties, in this case Wood Colony. Once they are picked up, we will move on to the Monterey. The last variety will be Fritz in two or three weeks (hopefully not longer).

Nonpareil yields have come in highly variable. The wet conditions at bloom time suppressed yields in orchards that bloomed early, mostly in the foothills. Other ranches suffered from "wet feet" due to the prolonged rain in the spring. Orchards that bloomed a few days later, between rains, on well drained soils, have done very well.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Almond Leadership Participants and Mentors
Current participants in the Almond Leadership Program visited the Regional Variety Trial yesterday. Participants in the Almond Leadership program come from a range of backgrounds and have a variety of connections to almonds. All will leave the program with a better understanding of the industry, a great network of associates, and skills to articulate the great story of our industry.

Giving an overview of the variety trial
Besides discussing the particulars of the variety trial, we talked about the private / public / industry / University cooperation that enable research efforts. In the case of the variety trial, this includes the Salida Union School District which owns the property, industry support such as Duarte Nursery that donated trees and Landmark Irrigation that donated the irrigation system installation, the University of California and Cooperative Extension who collect data year round from the trial, and the Almond Board of California who support a portion of the costs of running the trial.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

 Yesterday I had the opportunity to share some thoughts about blossoms, bees, pollination and irrigation of almonds with a group of high school students from the Big Valley Christian School Ag Club. They visited me at the Salida Teaching and Research Farm which is the site of the University/Almond Board regional variety trial.

They were attentive and their questions demonstrated that they were engaged and thinking about what I was sharing. They are an impressive group of young people and I was encouraged that we will have bright leaders for the future.

We talked about how almonds need cross pollenation and how vital bees are for, not only almonds, but all of agriculture. It was a good time for them to observe the various stages of bloom.

I showed them the infrastructure that is in place for irrigation. Currently the only source of water is a well. Utilizing surface water from the canal which borders the orchard would lower pumping costs and help preserve the aquifer. I challenged them to tackle the question of what needs to be done to utilize water from the district canal for irrigating the orchard.