The poster session at The Almond Conference allows growers to ask followup questions of researchers presenting their work during the Research Update session

The poster session at The Almond Conference allows growers to ask follow-up questions of researchers presenting their work during the Research Update session.

Vital issues, expanded research program featured at The Almond Conference

The 2015 Almond Conference, Dec. 8-10 in Sacramento, Calif., is tailored for growers to learn more about important California agriculture issues, plus new findings from Almond Board of California-funded research.  The Almond Conference is an opportunity for the almond industry to learn about new techniques and technology. https://www.almondconference.com    

The California almond industry is bigger than ever, both in size and value to our communities and the state as a whole. The growing importance of almonds in California means increased responsibility and scrutiny.

This year’s Almond Conference is tailored for growers to learn more about important issues facing California agriculture, plus new findings stemming from ongoing Almond Board-funded research.

The Almond Board of California (ABC) recently committed $2.5 million for independent, third-party research on next-generation farming practices. While we continue to make every effort to interpret and make available key results from this research, The Almond Conference is the one opportunity for everyone in the almond industry to get together to learn about new techniques and technology, and to discuss findings with the researchers.

Research updates

This year’s three-day event, Dec. 8–10, at the Sacramento Convention Center began as a one-day conference in 1973 devoted solely to research reports. Over the years, Almond Board-funded research has contributed to the success of the industry through discoveries in horticulture and the interaction of almond production with the environment.

This year, every ongoing production and environmental research project funded by the Almond Board - nearly 60 total - will be represented as an expanded report in a symposium or as a six-minute bite during the research update presentations. A corresponding poster session will be held on the trade show floor where attendees can study research results in more detail and discuss findings with the researchers conducting the studies.

Be sure to read the program carefully at AlmondConference.com/Agenda and choose ‘View Complete Printed Program.’

Production highlights

One of the more intriguing presentations on Dec. 8 is a report on a new angle to an ongoing area of research the ABC is supporting: “How Does an Almond Tree Grow?”

This presentation delves into questions including: are trees actually dormant during dormancy, how might climate change affect trees, and what factors influence tree and root growth, and spur development. These insights may influence the way almond trees are managed throughout the year, including the dormant season.

Pollination is also on the program in the “What’s the Buzz on Bees?” symposium. The presentation will cover the most recent issues and research findings for protecting honey bee health before, during, and after pollination. Researchers and growers will discuss the role of forage for honey bees, and how the almond community can preserve honey bee health by following the Almond Board’s “Honey Bee Best Management Practices for California Almonds.”

Groundwater recharge

Another intriguing session Dec. 9 is “Groundwater Recharge: A Role for Almonds?” The Almond Board is investing in research and partnerships to determine the feasibility of using almond acreage as locations for groundwater recharge when excess water is available from winter flood flows.

Presentations at the symposium will discuss research conducted on other crops and a project for this winter studying the effects of flooding almonds to recharge groundwater. It will also give a farmer’s perspective from a long-time user of this technique.

Research updates and posters will also look at how much water is too much for almonds, and whether trees need water to ‘wake up’ in the spring under drought conditions.

Insect pest management

For pest control advisers involved in almonds there is the “Insect Pest Management Workshop,” approved for 3.0 CEU credits through the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and Certified Crop Adviser programs. This comprehensive insect pest management workshop will discuss evolving management tactics and materials, including mating disruption, shifting pest spectrums, changes in pest resistance-tolerance, and regulatory issues.

Research update topics

Here is a list of the research updates to be discussed at The Almond Conference. Be sure to check the program for schedules and a map of the poster session.

Tuesday, Dec. 8

•N2O Emissions from Almond - David Smart, UC Davis

•Life Cycle Assessment of GHG Emissions for Almond Processing and Distribution - Alissa Kendall, UC Davis

•Regional Variety Trials - Bruce Lampinen, UC Davis

•Mechanical Hedging - Bruce Lampinen, UC Davis

•Development of Almond Rootstocks - Malli Aradhya, USDA-ARS, Davis

•Young Orchard Management Educational Materials - Katherine Pope, UCCE Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento counties

•UC Pomology-Almond Board Farm Advisor Internship - Luke Milliron, UC Davis

Wednesday, Dec. 9

• Mobile Platform Measuring Canopy Light and Water Stress - Bruce Lampinen, UC Davis

• Precision Ag Research: Leaf Monitor for Water Status - Shrini Upadhyaya, UC Davis

• Sap Flow Sensors in Almond - Matthew Gilbert, UC Davis

• Winter Water Management in Almond - Ken Shackel, UC Davis

• Whole-Tree Response to Water Stress - Ken Shackel

• Almond Water Production Function - , Ken Shackel

• Impact of Drought Stress on Roots - Astrid Volder, UC Davis

• Mycorrhizal Fungi and Roots During Drought Stress in Almond - Amélie Gaudin, UC Davis

• Remote Sensing for Tree Water Stress Using Aerial Imagery - Blake Sanden, UCCE Kern County

• Sodium, Chloride and Boron Accumulation in Almonds - Blake Sanden

• Physiology of Salinity Stress in Almond - Patrick Brown, UC Davis

• Tools to Assess Salinity Tolerance - Georgia Drakakaki, UC Davis

• Nutrient Availability and Food Safety of Organic Matter Amendments - Daniel Schellenberg, UC Davis

• N Management for Nitrate Minimization, David Smart

• California Almond Water Footprint, Fraser Shilling, UC Davis

• Almond Variety Development, Tom Gradziel, UC Davis

• Rootstock Germplasm, Tom Gradziel

• Rootstock Evaluation, Roger Duncan, UCCE Stanislaus County

• Tree Spacing, Pruning and Rootstocks - Roger Duncan

• Mechanical Pruning and Young-Tree Training - Roger Duncan

Thursday, Dec. 10

• Weed Management, Brad Hanson - UCCE

• Almond Disease Management - Jim Adaskaveg, UC Riverside

• Almond Bloom Disease Control Trials - Brent Holtz, UCCE San Joaquin County

• Replant Disease Strategies - Greg Browne, USDA-ARS, Davis

• Rootstock Resistance to Armillaria Root Disease - Roger Duncan

• Wood Decay Fungi in Almond - Bob Johnson, UC Davis

• Insect and Mite Pest Management - David Haviland

• Insect and Mite Research - Frank Zalom, UC Davis

Detoxification of Insecticides by Navel Orangeworm – Mark Demkovich, University of Illinois

• The Relationship Between NOW and the Fungus Aspergillus flavus - Daniel

Bush, University of Illinois

• Sampling Methods and Development of Thresholds for NOW - Jay Rosenheim, UC Davis

• Pheromone and Host Plant Volatiles for NOW Monitoring - Ring Cardé, UC Riverside

• Host Plant Volatile Blend to Monitor NOW Populations - John Beck, USDA-ARS, Albany

• Navel Orangeworm Monitoring, Emily Symmes - UCCE

• NOW Trapping and Leaffooted Bug Studies - Kris Tollerup, UCCE

• Leaffooted Bug Studies, Andrea Joyce - UC Merced

• Insect Studies, Dani Lightle - UCCE Glenn County

Through the ABC’s continuing commitment to research and innovation, and in partnership with California almond growers, almonds can continue to be a ‘crop of choice’ for California and a sustainable part of the state’s agricultural future.

For the latest on western agriculture, please check out Western Farm Press Daily and receive the latest news right to your inbox.

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