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Pests, Weeds Take Center Stage During TAC Sessions

Managing weeds and pests is a time-consuming task for almond growers. Attend TAC 2020 to take in back-to-back sessions providing timely, practical information you can use in your orchard this crop year.


Pests, Weeds Take Center Stage During TAC Sessions

Weeds and pests – two potential causes of serious headaches for almond growers – will be the focus of separate breakout sessions at The Almond Conference (TAC) 2020, held Dec. 8-10.

On Thursday, Dec. 10, from 10-11 a.m., ABC’s senior specialist in Pest Management Drew Wolter
will moderate a panel discussion on weed control. The session’s primary focus is to encourage growers to be thoughtful in their approach to weed management, creating management goals for each individual orchard and considering how weed management fits into the larger picture of their overall Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy. Wolter will also share the fundamentals of weed management in orchards of all ages, as well as the role cover crops can play in weed management.

Weed specialist Brad Hanson, Ph.D., a specialist at the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), will then provide information on the factors growers should consider as they develop their weed management plans, including the type of weeds in their orchards, their irrigation system and soil type. Hanson also will discuss the use of pre-emergent and post-emergent sprays, how to reduce resistance to certain herbicide applications, and recommendations around when and how to mow the middles as a weed management strategy.

Beyond the agronomics of weed management, Wolter will also address the changing regulatory environment surrounding herbicides in the United States and, especially, the European Union.

Directly following the session on weed control, Gabriele Ludwig, Ph.D., ABC’s director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, will moderate a session centered on IPM approaches growers can take to battle key pests in almonds.

The IPM session will feature a variety of speakers, each touching on different pests that the California almond industry has set out to efficiently combat as part of its Almond Orchard 2025 Goals. The panel of speakers includes:

  • Jim Adaskaveg, plant pathologist and professor based at UC Riverside. Adaskaveg will update growers on an Alternaria prediction model he has been developing, explaining how it works and how it may be used, in addition to providing recommendations on when to spray to treat this disease.
  • Mohammad Yaghmour, a UCCE area orchard systems advisor in Kern County, will discuss how growers can combat hull rot by integrating prevention steps into their larger IPM plans. He also will discuss how reducing dust levels, as well as proper irrigation and nutrient management, can help prevent the spread of hull rot.
  • David Haviland, a UCCE entomologist and farm advisor also in Kern County, will tackle what is perhaps the industry’s greatest pest foe – navel orangeworm (NOW) – and provide management tips on how to combat this pest with a special focus on mating disruption and the importance of winter sanitation. Haviland also will provide insight into mite management and recently conducted research regarding the role natural enemies may play in mite prevention.

Growers interested in either session are encouraged to mark their calendars for Thursday, Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon. A complete Almond Conference agenda may be found on the TAC webpage, and as a reminder, this year’s conference will be completely virtual.