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

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

BerriesReal Estate Firm, Wish Farms Strike Large Land Deal
October 1, 2014
$13.8 million transaction includes more than 800 acres acquired from longtime Central Florida produce operation. Read More
VegetablesFind The Right Market For Your Crops
October 1, 2014
Getting to know the demographics of your market is key to maximizing your return on investment. Read More
Insect ControlBagrada Bug And Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Posing Threa…
October 1, 2014
Two species of stink bugs are now posing a serious threat to agricultural production in the Western U.S.: the brown Read More
OrganicResearchers Breeding Organic Tomato Varieties Receive $…
October 1, 2014
Purdue University accepts funding to lead multi-institution research to breed organic varieties that will resist foliar diseases. Read More
Vegetables14 Quality Cabbage Varieties [Slideshow]
October 1, 2014
Browse the slideshow below for information on cabbage varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
FruitsOrganic And Local Food Economies Receive More Than $52 …
October 1, 2014
Most of the grants were authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill. Read More
Insect ControlMore Than 600,000 Acres Removed From Golden Nematode Re…
October 1, 2014
The potato acreage was taken off the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s list; under 6,000 acres in New York are still considered to be infested. Read More
Crop ProtectionTool Helps Track Insects On The Move At Night
October 1, 2014
Signals collected by the National Weather Service’s Doppler radar network may serve as an early warning system to track corn earworm, a major pest in sweet corn. Read More
NutsNew Walnut Budding, Grafting, and Planting Video Releas…
October 1, 2014
Lake County nurseryman Alex Suchan, who has been grafting trees for two-thirds of a century, is the star. Read More
GenNext GrowersGrowers Need To Be Mindful When Dealing With The Media
October 1, 2014
When being interviewed for a story, preparation is the foundation to help you successfully get your point across. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardSharing Is Caring When It Comes To Curing Citrus Greeni…
October 1, 2014
Mike Sparks, 2014 Citrus Achievement Award winner, says being open with peers about what's working and not working is crucial in managing HLB. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoKnow How To Knock Back Nematodes
October 1, 2014
The 2014 Florida Ag Expo will provide critical tips in soilborne pest management. Read More
CEU SeriesCEU Series: Vow To Vanquish Weeds Among Vegetables
October 1, 2014
Herbicidal neglect can and will kill your crops. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateUF Names Interim Director For Citrus Research And Educa…
September 30, 2014
Michael Rogers has been a central figure in Florida’s battle to survive greening. Read More
BerriesPractice Persistence When Battling Botrytis In Blueberr…
September 30, 2014
Cognizance of resistance is key to managing formidable fungus. Read More
CitrusFarming Is Quite The Scary Prospect For Some [Opinion]
September 30, 2014
Florida Grower managing editor Paul Rusnak says economic realities might frighten off future leaders from noble professions. Read More
FruitsNew Suppress Herbicide Gets Green Light From EPA
September 30, 2014
Approval gives organic growers new weed management tool. Read More
BerriesNew Fill-By-Weight Clamshell Filler For Blueberries
September 30, 2014
Lakewood Process Machinery's equipment offers a simplified user interface, minimized drop heights, a new dribble-gate system designed for an increased level of accuracy. Read More