CROP PROTECTION

Almonds: Most growers are out of the woods for leaffooted bug (LFB) as nuts begin to harden. Weeds are being cleaned up and fertilizer applications will hopefully be finished up by the end of the month as kernel fill is completed. As temperatures warm up in the next week, be on the lookout for mites. PCAs and growers have spotted rust on the west side and in Madera. If you have a history of rust, be sure to contact your GAR Bennett PCA for treatment options. In addition to rust, be on the lookout for late season diseases such as Scab and Alternaria showing up as a result of the late rain followed by hot temperatures. As we approach June, we may consider pulling tissue samples to plan for post-harvest fertilizer applications. We will want to ensure potassium levels are sufficient before entering the period of bud differentiation.

Citrus: Some growers are wrapping up sprays for thrips with the exception of any slower growing varieties. PCAs are scouting for potential re-treatments for thrips due to reinfestation, especially with the upcoming heat wave. The first flight of red scale is currently happening, and pressures have been high. PCAs are checking trap counts and have already spotted white caps. Crawlers have also been spotted down south. Contact your GAR Bennett PCA for appropriate treatment options if red scale is an issue in your citrus groves. Growers are addressing snail issues in the field, wrapping up nitrogen applications and doing some burn down sprays as well.

Grapes: Thompson raisin growers who applied gibb from April 20-28 for bunch stretch are seeing some great results. Rains earlier this week and the upcoming projected heat wave may create a breeding ground for powdery mildew. Stay in close contact with your GAR Bennett PCA to properly time applications for mildew control. Dust and wettable sulfur are being finished up this week to assist in preventing this disease. As of May 15, sulfur was moved to a 3-day R.E.I. Be mindful of this if you have plans to harvest leaves. Fertilizer applications will wrap up post-bloom. Some wine grapes that are not varietals are seeing a price increase in the market. Sales are up 30% on some of the lower priced wines as a result of the pandemic.

Stone Fruit: Harvest for early varieties is moving along, but there still isn’t a lot of volume. Many blocks are being treated with a pre-harvest fungicide along with an insecticide for worms and silvering thrips on nectarines. As we get later into the season on nectarines, keep an eye out for katydids as these pests will begin to migrate. Oriental fruit moth (OFM) degree days (DD) will be dependent on your biofix. We are looking for about 1500 DD for treatment window from biofix. Some growers are starting to treat this week. If you have a bioxfix of Feb. 28, treatment dates may be around May 25-28. If you extended to March 15, you may be treating around June 4. Be sure to consult your GAR Bennett PCA on materials for this first flight if you have had a history of this pest.

Cherries: We are close to wrapping up harvest on this crop, especially for those growers who got some rain. Growers will begin to shift into post-harvest mode, evaluating the timing of applications during dormancy in relation to chill hours and harvest date (i.e. applying earlier for an earlier harvest). Some growers will start gearing up to prune, clean up weeds and scout for canker issues. Focus will also shift to post-harvest nutrition as we want to try to build up buds and protect them. As we get into the higher temperatures, we may consider applying a protectant on younger trees to prevent sunburn on scaffolds. Contact your GAR Bennett PCA for expert advice.

Pistachios: Growers are currently scouting for Botryosphaeria (BOT) and Botrytis blight. Be sure to keep an eye out for these diseases and consult with your GAR Bennett PCA as the rains earlier this week may cause potential spread. PCAs spotted quite a few plant bug and stink bug hatches last week in some areas. You may consider asking your PCA about materials that can be combined with BOT applications if you have issues with these pests. Typically, BOT sprays are applied in the first part of June, or later in June depending on the amount of rain in your area. Contact your GAR Bennett PCA for expert advice.

Walnuts: The 1B flight for codling moth (CM) just wrapped up. In the middle of the 1B spray, rain occurred up and down the valley. For those growers who applied a fungicide during the application, timing was excellent in preventing the spread of BOT. It’s a good time to start thinking about irrigation timing for the 2A CM flight. This typically occurs 30 days after the 1B flight. As a reminder, be sure to take advantage of Bayer’s SNAP program for nematode sampling. Some growers are finding high populations of lesion nematodes in their orchards. Currently, the crop looks promising in most cases—Serrs, Tulares, and Ivanhoes seem to have average to above average yield, while Chandlers are still too early to tell. Contact your GAR Bennett PCA for expert advice.

Tomatoes: Some growers are applying CAN-17 through the drip tape. Second applications are being done to control for beet leafhoppers that carry curly top virus. Some areas have been experiencing heavy populations of thrips that carry spotted wilt virus. Top dressings are being applied to help control this pest. Contact your GAR Bennett PCA for expert advice.

Garlic: This crop is starting to wind down as we approach harvest. As garlic grows, it loses layers of skin. When it comes time for water cutoff, we want to ensure the garlic has a minimum of five skins. Otherwise the garlic may shatter, leaving cloves on the ground before harvest. Irrigation is finished on early garlic while late garlic is still finishing up. Contact your GAR Bennett PCA for expert advice.

Dehydrated Onions: Growers are currently controlling weeds with post-emergence herbicides. Contact your GAR Bennett PCA for expert advice.

Cotton: Side dressings of UN 32 are finishing up. Some growers are getting ready to apply top dressings of Roundup for weed control. Beet armyworm has been spotted in some fields. Be sure to consult your GAR Bennett PCA on treatment options if you have issues with this pest.

Alfalfa Seed: Fields are currently being irrigated. Once the crop begins to dry down and bloom, we will begin to clean up pests (lygus, aphid, mite, armyworm) 8-10 days before bees are placed around the field. Contact your GAR Bennett PCA for expert advice.

CROP NUTRITION

Getting the Most Out of Your Soils: Focus on the Microbes
contributed by James Henderson of Prime Dirt
Going back to our earliest biology classes in school, we learned that a plant “inhales” carbon dioxide and “exhales” oxygen. But what does it do with the carbon dioxide? In short, the plant stores the carbon dioxide and converts it to carbohydrates. At critical growth stages, the plant releases the carbohydrates into the soil.
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Understanding Salt Stress
contributed by Jeremy Nunes of Valagro USA
Soil salinity can be due to many different factors. The parent rock from which the soil was formed may have contained salts. The geographical location could play a role as coastal and low-lying areas are prone to sea water intrusion. Perhaps the most common origin of salts is the irrigation water itself.
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WATER SERVICES

GAR Bennett Precision Silage Management and Automation Teams Help Dairy Farmer Succeed with Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI)
With regulations like SGMA and reduced water allocations, being able to conserve water on the farm becomes a top priority. When a dairy farmer south of Hanford was interested in improving irrigation efficiency while reducing tractor passes through 38.1 acres of triticale, they contacted our GAR Bennett Precision Silage Management (PSM) team for a solution. It was clear to the team and farmer that installing subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) and automating the system would be key to achieving efficiency.
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WORKER SAFETY

GAR Bennett Worker Safety Adds Infectious Disease Training
COVID-19 has become the talk of the farm, creating concerns revolving around farm labor shortages for many of our growers. GAR Bennett’s Worker Safety team realized there was a need for proper training specific to COVID-19 to keep the agriculture industry moving. As such, our team has now added Infectious Disease trainings to our Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) to help keep farming operations safe and protected.
“This is about guiding the grower in the right direction,” stated Worker Safety Lead, Lilly Reyes. “We want to reassure the grower and the employees that we will get through this together.” The training closely follows CDC guidelines and includes procedures on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, take the required safety measures, and what to do if you have been infected or exposed. For more information on this new training, click here.
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During quarantine, GAR Bennett’s Worker Safety Team has been taking extra precautions to ensure farm employees are trained on the proper guidelines implemented by the CDC and Cal/OSHA. To stay up to date during this time, our trainers are doing in-house safety trainings and attending webinars provided by the UC IPM to gain further knowledge on safety protocols for your farming operation. A popular training that has now been fully implemented is snake and rodent safety. If rodents are a concern for you, be sure to contact your GAR Bennett Worker Safety team and PCA today to help with these “not so friendly” crawlers!

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FOOD SAFETY

Hygiene, hygiene and more hygiene! GAR Bennett’s Food Safety consultants are at full capacity during this quarantine, making sure farm owners and employees are up to speed with CDC guidelines on washing hands and equipment. Our staff of trained consultants are incorporating additional in-depth, hygiene trainings on how to combat the spread of COVID-19. Packing houses and crews are also being advised to follow social distancing guidelines to help ease the concerns of our dedicated harvest crews and packers. GLOBALG.A.P. has also implemented COVID-19 into hygiene risk assessments. Reach out to our GAR Bennett Food Safety team today to alleviate the stress of COVID-19 in your operation.
Click HERE to learn more about avoiding hefty fines by contacting our Food Safety and Worker Safety Teams.

WHAT’S HAPPENING

USDA-NASS Predicts Third Straight Record-Breaking Almond Crop
By Pacific Nut Producer
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is predicting a record California almond crop for the third straight year. The USDA-NASS 2020 California Almond Subjective Forecast estimates California almond orchards will produce 3.0 billion pounds of nuts this year, up 17.6 percent from last year’s 2.55 billion-pound crop. – Read More
USDA details Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
By AGDAILY
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. – Read More
Smoke Exposure Research in Grapes Begins Taking Shape
By Brian German, AgNet West
Support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service will allow important smoke exposure research to move forward to better understand the effect that smoke has on grapes. Industry groups in California, Oregon, and Washington came together to form the West Coast Smoke Task Force, which encouraged federal funding support to address important wildfire issues affecting grape production areas. A total of $2 million has been allocated to help fund the research effort. – Read More