Almond Experts Share Varietal Views

At the annual meeting of the Almond Board of California, a panel of University of California (UC) Cooperative Extension farm advisers shared their thoughts on almond varieties. We thought you’d enjoy a sampling of their paraphrased remarks.

Tom Gradziel:

• Don’t forget to take into account the “Tiger Woods Effect.” No matter how promising a variety appears, or how precocious it is, it’s how a tree acts when it’s mature that counts. For a variety to make you money over the whole 20 years the average block is in the ground, is really a challenge.
• Location is critical. The only way to know if a variety will really perform well over time is to see if it performs well in a variety of circumstances. Pay attention to regional trials, because almost all varieties have both key advantages and deficiencies, but they will only emerge in certain areas.
• “Garbage in, garbage out.” Certain varieties will look good on paper, but when you get them out in the real world, you find out their faults. That’s why paying attention to trial data is so critical.

Joe Connell:

• When considering pollenizers, don’t just check for compatibility, but incompatibility. Some diseases are particularly bad in certain varieties. If there’s a disease that’s bad in your region, think twice about that variety.
• Talk to your handler. He or she might be able to tell you if there is a new variety that fits into a special market niche. The price differential for niches is widening. It’s also widening for nut quality. Does a given variety have a good shell seal? Shell seal, as well as harvest time, will affect reject levels.
• It takes a lot of time to evaluate varieties. At UC-Davis, they’ve been doing it for decades. Despite what anyone says, you won’t really know if a given variety is for you until you plant it in your orchard and have it for 20 years. The real test is whether you would then plant that variety again.

Bruce Lampinen:

• Yield is so important and always of keen interest, but people are prone to exaggerate. Be skeptical of those professing high yields. Yields can be tricky because there are so many factors, such as a sand streak through an orchard block, that can impact yield. Use new technology to evaluate yields.
• One factor in yield, tree height, isn’t always considered. If a tree shades out its neighbor, yield will be affected. Also, you can equate light interception with yield. Is a variety more productive just because it’s growing faster initially, shading out neighboring trees?

Roger Duncan:

• First, choose your main variety, which ordinarily boils down to Nonpareil or Butte. They don’t belong in the same orchard. When you do choose, be sure to weigh yield vs. price. A lot of growers go with a Butte/Padre combination because of higher yields, but Nonpareil fetches a premium price. Go with what nets the most dollars per acre.
• Pick pollenators carefully, because bloom time is critical. You don’t want early varieties with Nonpareil, but you don’t want late varieties, either. You want mid-late bloom, such as Monterey. If you’re a large grower, you want lots of different varieties to keep equipment in use. But if you’re a smaller grower, just go with a couple of varieties so you can concentrate on those and do a good job.
• Insect susceptibility is a factor that can be overlooked. If you’re planting an orchard that has high navel orangeworm (NOW) pressure, you’d want to stay away from NOW-susceptible varieties, like Butte or Sonora.
• Disease pressure is another factor that can be overlooked. For example, bloom time diseases can be a problem in the Sacramento Valley because it has higher rainfall than areas to the south. Conversely, alternaria can be bad in the southern San Joaquin Valley, so alternaria-susceptible varieties such as Winters can be a problem.
• Are you a risk taker? There are a lot of new varieties, such as Independence, that look good. However, there’s obviously no long-term data you can use to evaluate these newer varieties. If you’re averse to risk, you may want to stick with tried and true older varieties.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Marco Rubio tours a Central Florida citrus grove with industry dignitaries
Insect & Disease Update
July 22, 2016
Marco Rubio Backs Bill To Save Florida Citrus
Senator co-sponsors measure that would provide growers with incentives to plant more trees. Read More
Holly Rippon-Butler
GenNext Growers
July 22, 2016
Farming’s Next Generation Seeking Room To Grow
Several innovative resources are available to help first-time growers acquire the property they need. Read More
Live music woman playing guitar free image FEATURE
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
How To Book A Great Band For Your Festivals
Want to add live music to your fall festivals? Here's a step-by-step guide on how to find the right band for the right price. Read More
Valery Cordrey on a radio show
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
How To Entice The Local Press To Cover Your Farm Market
Sometimes getting publicity for your business is easier than you think. All you need to do is figure out how Read More
cantaloupe
Cucurbits
July 22, 2016
California Cantaloupe Growers To Celebrate First-Ever “Cantaloupe Week”
The Golden State’s cantaloupes are now in peak production from major areas in the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
Closeup of buckwheat blooms
Cucurbits
July 21, 2016
Study Shows Buckwheat Can Help Stifle Squash Pests
Unique cover crop choice attracts beneficial bugs, increasing pollination prospects and reducing insect threats. Read More
farm labor pic for web
Citrus
July 21, 2016
Farm Labor Delays Taking Toll On Crops [Opinion]
When it comes down to it, we have a choice to make. We either have to import our labor, or we'll have to import our food. Read More
Urban vegetable farm in rural Cuba
Citrus
July 20, 2016
My First Trip To Cuba Proves Fruitful
The five-day journey was enlightening, providing participants with a better perspective of the state of agriculture in this country 90 miles off Florida’s coast. Read More
Shinsuke Agehara of UF/IFAS holding an artichoke in the middle of a Central Florida farm plot
More Vegetables
July 19, 2016
So You Think You Can Grow Artichokes In Florida?
Field trials are in progress to determine if this highly sought-after superfood can survive the swelter of the Sunshine State. Read More
The Latest
Insect & Disease Update
July 22, 2016
Marco Rubio Backs Bill To Save Florida C…
Senator co-sponsors measure that would provide growers with incentives to plant more trees. Read More
GenNext Growers
July 22, 2016
Farming’s Next Generation Seeking …
Several innovative resources are available to help first-time growers acquire the property they need. Read More
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
How To Book A Great Band For Your Festiv…
Want to add live music to your fall festivals? Here's a step-by-step guide on how to find the right band for the right price. Read More
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
How To Entice The Local Press To Cover Y…
Sometimes getting publicity for your business is easier than you think. All you need to do is figure out how Read More
Cucurbits
July 22, 2016
California Cantaloupe Growers To Celebra…
The Golden State’s cantaloupes are now in peak production from major areas in the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
Find Out Where Growers Want To Sell Thei…
Earlier this year, we asked farm marketers which of their current business channels they would like to increase. Not surprisingly, Read More
Cucurbits
July 21, 2016
Study Shows Buckwheat Can Help Stifle Sq…
Unique cover crop choice attracts beneficial bugs, increasing pollination prospects and reducing insect threats. Read More
Citrus
July 21, 2016
Farm Labor Delays Taking Toll On Crops […
When it comes down to it, we have a choice to make. We either have to import our labor, or we'll have to import our food. Read More
Citrus
July 20, 2016
My First Trip To Cuba Proves Fruitful
The five-day journey was enlightening, providing participants with a better perspective of the state of agriculture in this country 90 miles off Florida’s coast. Read More
More Vegetables
July 19, 2016
So You Think You Can Grow Artichokes In …
Field trials are in progress to determine if this highly sought-after superfood can survive the swelter of the Sunshine State. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2016
Funds Allocated To Address Impact Of Cli…
NIFA announces $8.4 for study and development of new approaches to mitigate effects of climate change. Read More
Disease Control
July 19, 2016
Open Your Eyes To Common Smut In Sweet C…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this formidable fungus. Read More
Crop Protection
July 18, 2016
Early Infection Of Downy Mildew Confirme…
The pathogen has been confirmed in Michigan cucumbers in Bay County for the 2016 season. Read More
Citrus
July 18, 2016
USDA Awards More Than $26 Million For Af…
The funding is to support more than 400 rental units in four states. Read More
Crop Protection
July 18, 2016
Potato Growers: Be On The Lookout For Ne…
Standard measures have been typically less effective against new strains. Read More
Business Planning
July 18, 2016
Financial Fortitude Key For Small Farm S…
Local threats like citrus greening create additional challenges for many of Florida's more modest enterprises. Read More
Citrus
July 18, 2016
Bayer Ups Bid To Buy Monsanto
Reports indicate new offer at nearly $65 billion. Read More
Cucurbits
July 18, 2016
21 Pumpkin Varieties You Need To Know
Leading seed breeders and distributors highlight some of the latest pumpkin varieties available. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]