Consider Pistachio Crop Insurance for 2016 Upcoming Deadline is Dec. 31
This season, many California Pistachio growers found that their crop yields were more than half of what they should have been due to the warm winter weather this year. And while there is a risk management insurance program in place, which helped a lot of growers, other did not have it and shoulder all the losses.
Jim Otto is a Senior Risk Specialist, with the USDA Risk Management Agency at the Davis Regional Office, “A lot of growers did not take it either for risk management reasons or were not aware of it, or their agents did not inform them of the availability of pistachio crop insurance.”
And for growers thinking about insurance for next season, be aware of the upcoming deadline. “The sales closing date is December 31, so growers have to sign up for the insurance by that date,” he said. “Signing up can be complicated, in that growers must agree to take insurance for two consecutive years, and they also must agree what coverage level and price percentage they are going to take, so growers are locked in for a two year policy. But each year stands on its own.”
Otto said payments are based on average yields and the coverage that the grower elects to have, “There are some fundamental basics,” he said. “You have to determine what your average yield is, if it is 2,000 pounds per acre growers have to elect what coverage level you are going to select, 50%, 65%, 70%…The premium rates are adjusted by that amount, but growers make that decision on what coverage level they want to take and if their production for the year drops below the coverage level, then that shortfall is what they get paid on.
So, for example, if a grower’s average yield is 3,000lbs. And you take 65% coverage level, which is roughly 2,000 pounds, if your average yield for this year is 1200lb, that is an 800-pound shortage, the grower gets paid an indemnity of 800 pounds, times an established price.”
Richard Matoian is the Director of the American Pistachio Growers based in Fresno. He said pistachio growers should definitely consider risk management insurance, “We think all growers should consider crop insurance, even at the most minimal level, which is what they call “cat” or “catastrophic” as a risk management tool for operations. In a year like this year where we had historically low yields on a per-acre basis, crop insurance for many growers is going to be their savior to keep them going.”
It is interesting to note that one insurance broker name Nick Jerkovich with All Crop Insurance, based in the Fresno County town of Kerman, Calif., came up with the idea.
Otto explains, “It was back in 2009, when Nick mentioned that there were a lot of pistachio trees in the ground that did not have a crop insurance program. One recommendation was that if Nick could get a petition signed by multiple growers, and gather acreage data,” Otto said.
“So Nick on his own dime got roughly 75-80% of the acreage in the value, submitted that to an administrator, and that is what really got the ball rolling as far as ‘hey, there is interest, there is interest from the grassroots and so based on that initial letter, Risk Management Agency contracted out to have that developed. It is interesting to see what one individual person can do,” noted Otto.
Almonds Contribute Little To Carbon Emissions, Study Finds
Almonds Contribute Little To Carbon Emissions, Study Finds
Almonds, vilified during the current drought for being one of California’s thirstier crops, have a surprisingly small carbon footprint compared to other nutrient-rich crops, reports a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The findings are important for evaluating the environmental impact of California-grown almonds, which make up 80 percent of the world's commercial almonds. The term “carbon footprint” refers to the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses produced annually by an activity or entity and is of concern because of the impact greenhouse gases have on global warming.
"Our research shows that 1 kilogram of California almonds typically produces less than 1 kilogram of CO2-equivqlent emissions," said Alissa Kendall, an associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and corresponding author on two related open-access papers published this week in the Journal of Industrial Ecology. The two articles are available online at http://bit.ly/1TX8Sl5 and http://bit.ly/1GL4EUg. Kendall noted that the study results include the use of almond co-products -- orchard biomass, hulls and shells -- for renewable power generation and dairy feed. Orchard biomass refers to prunings as well as trees removed from an orchard.
“Under ideal circumstances, which are feasible but not in place today, California almonds could become carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative, largely through the improved utilization of orchard biomass,” Kendall said. An activity or process is considered carbon-negative if, overall, it leads to a net reduction of greenhouse gases, either by directly removing and sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere or by avoiding greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise occur. “Only a full, life cycle-based model like the one we developed for this research will allow us to accurately assess whether incorporating the biomass into the soil or using it for power generation instead results in a lower net carbon footprint,” said co-author Sonja Brodt, academic coordinator in the UC ANR Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program at UC Davis, noting that there will be some trade-offs.
Almond demand spurs plantings and the popularity of almonds and almond-based products has spurred California almond acreage to expand from 510,000 acres in 2000 to roughly 890,000 acres in 2015, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The new UC study reported in these articles was prompted by growing interest among consumers and food companies in the carbon footprint of various food products and by California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires statewide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The first article, "Life Cycle-based Assessment of Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Almond Production, Part I: Analytical Framework and Baseline Results," is authored by Kendall; Elias Marvinney, a graduate student in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences; Brodt; and Weiyuan Zhu, a UC Davis graduate student in horticulture and agronomy. Marvinney is lead author of the second article, "Life Cycle-based Assessment of Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Almond Production, Part II: Uncertainty Analysis through Sensitivity Analysis and Scenario Testing," in collaboration with Kendall and Brodt.
Funding for the study was provided by the Almond Board of California and the California Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. UC Davis is growing California At UC Davis, we and our partners are nourishing our state with food, economic activity and better health, playing a key part in the state’s role as the top national agricultural producer for more than 50 years. UC Davis is participating in UC’s Global Food Initiative launched by UC President Janet Napolitano, harnessing the collective power of UC to help feed the world and steer it on the path to sustainability.
Navel Orangeworm in 2015
Navel Orangeworm in 2015
By Emily J. Symmes, UCCE Area IPM Advisor, Sacramento Valley
NOW management in the Sacramento Valley relies heavily on sanitation, early and rapid harvest, and hull split treatments when necessary to protect the new crop. Proper execution of these practices keeps NOW populations below damaging levels. This year we may face higher navel orangeworm pressure due to the dry winter that made sanitation more difficult while reducing natural overwintering mortality.
Warm spring temperatures led to earlier NOW egg biofix dates this year which will lead to earlier third generation egg laying as harvest approaches and the likelihood of a fourth generation before harvest is complete. May sprays, under discussion in other parts of the state, reduce NOW and PTB populations if timed properly but do not protect the maturing crop.
While May sprays targeting first generation NOW might seem like an attractive option if high populations going into hull split are anticipated, there are limitations to this strategy in the northern parts of the Central Valley. May sprays will reduce resident populations but will not protect the new crop when it becomes vulnerable to NOW infestation at hull split from resident or immigrant moths. May sprays may help in the southern Central Valley, where almond blocks tend to be much larger, resident NOW populations higher due to very low sanitation thresholds, and regional pressure greater due to proximity to other sources of infestation (i.e., pistachio orchards), but aren’t generally a great fit for the Sacramento Valley.
Applying May sprays for peach twig borer (PTB) and obtaining simultaneous control of NOW is also appealing. However, this is not a guarantee and will only occur if the life cycles of the two pests are synchronized and/or the material chosen has long residual impacts. Therefore, PTB should be treated only as necessary based on monitoring and threshold values (see http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r3300211.html for information on PTB management). In addition, application of certain materials during spring disrupt natural enemies of webspinning spider mites and increase the need for miticide treatment. Given these considerations in the Sacramento Valley, hull split treatments provide maximum crop protection from NOW with minimal non-target and secondary pest impacts.
Proper timing of hull split treatments involves monitoring egg traps, using degree days, and crop phenology. If you choose to treat at hull split, and eggs are being laid on egg traps, time the spray to the initiation of hull split. If eggs are not being laid on egg traps when hull split begins, time the spray to an increase in egg-laying on traps or the predicted initiation of egg-laying according to degree day models, 1200 degree days after spring biofix.
Hull split initiation is when sound fruit in the tops of trees begin to split. At this time, the nuts at eye level will be less mature and will show only a deep furrow at the hull suture. Nuts in the top southwest quadrant of the tree split first. Blank nuts (usually 3 to 5%) will split 1 to 2 weeks ahead of sound nuts. Use a long-extension pole pruner to cut small branches from this top portion of five or six trees in the orchard to check whether hull split nuts are blank or sound.