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Posts Tagged: walnuts

New cost study for English walnuts released by Agricultural Issues Center

This cost study focuses on establishing a walnut orchard in the Sacramento Valley
A new study on the cost and return of growing English walnuts has been released by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Agricultural Issues Center.
 
The study focuses on establishing an orchard and producing walnuts under microsprinkler irrigation in the Sacramento Valley. 

The economic life of the orchard used in this cost analysis is 30 years. The analysis is based upon a hypothetical farm operation of a well-managed orchard, using practices common to the region. Growers, UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates provided input and reviews. Assumptions used to identify current costs for the walnut crop, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead are described. A ranging analysis table shows profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The new study is titled 2015 Sample Costs to Establish and Produce English Walnuts in the Sacramento Valley, Microsprinkler Irrigated.”

This study and other sample cost of production studies for many commodities are available. They can be downloaded for free from the UC Davis Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics website at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact Don Stewart at the UC ANR Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651 or destewart@ucdavis.edu.

Posted on Monday, November 16, 2015 at 9:10 AM

Bats in the belfry? No, bats in walnut orchards

A pallid bat catching dinner mid air. (Photo: Bat Conservation International)
Bats are voracious predators of night-flying insects that target California crops. Research statistics show that a pregnant or nursing female can consume as much as two-thirds of her body weight in insects per night. That's somewhat like a 150-pound man eating 100 pounds of food per day.

What's the economic value of bats to the agricultural pest control? It probably exceeds $23 billion per year, according to recent studies. However, very little data exists on the benefits of bats for individual crops, such as walnuts.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers, together with UC Davis, are launching a survey to better understand the value of bats (and birds) on managed lands. The voluntary survey, focused on growers and landowners in California's Central Valley, may be completed online.

Work is already underway to assess the pest-control impact of bats on walnut production in the Central Valley with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency STAR (Science to Achieve Results).

California produces almost all of the nation's walnuts. Farmers grow some 500,000 tons of walnuts on 290,000 acres, with the annual crop valued at $1.8 billion. Due to popular demand, new orchards are planted every year, calling for more intensive farming practices to manage costly crop pests. For walnuts, the key pest is the codling moth, a larva that feeds on developing nuts. The adult moths begin to fly and lay eggs on the nutlets in May and produce up to four generations per year.

Rachael Long with a bat detector under the Davis causeway. (Photo: California Farm Bureau)
Growers, as part of their pest control management practices, typically use insecticides, spraying once or twice a year for this pest. Many also use pheromones, a mating-disruption technology that prevents males from finding females. Although generally effective, pesticides are expensive and they can have harmful impacts on the environment.

Bats forage in walnut orchards for codling moths and other insects. Colonies of bats double their activity on farms when they roost in bat houses attached to barns in the orchards. The Mexican free-tailed bat is the most abundant species, followed by the Yuma and California myotis, and five other species, including the pallid bat.

In an effort to quantify the economic impact of bats' consumption of codling moths, we captured 36 Mexican free-tailed bats over a three-night period in an 80-acre walnut orchard in Yolo County. Some 3,000 bats live in the bat houses in an abandoned shop on the property.

The research procedure: We opened our mist net from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. to correspond with codling moth flights and bat activity, and captured the bats as they returned to the roost after feeding. We placed the bats individually in sterile cloth sacks and kept them there until they defecated, then we released them. We quickly froze the guano pellets and shipped them to a USDA lab, where scientists genetically tested them for the presence of codling moths.

Our preliminary data suggest that 5 percent of these bats – about 150 bats from this colony of 3,000 – consumed at least one codling moth per night. We calculated 30 nights per generation for the codling moth, and four generations per year, with each female moth laying 60 viable eggs on individual nuts.

Bats help protect California walnuts from coddling moth.
For a typical 80-acre walnut orchard producing a total of 136 tons of walnuts per year, we estimate that bats can protect about 6 percent of the crop yield, or $29,700 worth of walnuts per season at the current price of $1.65 per pound. That's an economic value of $10 per bat per year. And that figure probably underestimates the true value, since for some species of bats, up to 40 percent of their diet can consist of moths – an average of about 15 moths per night.

The next steps: we are refining our economic data and determining whether these insect-hunting bats help reduce pesticide use in walnut orchards.

Bats provide these pest control services for free while farmers enjoy a decrease of pests in their orchards and an increase in profits.

Co-authors: Rachael Long, UC ANR advisor; and Katherine Ingram, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, UC Davis.

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 8:22 AM
Tags: bats (19), Rachael Long (39), walnuts (21)

Thirty-year farm advisor gets her day in the sun

Janine Hasey, UCCE advisor in Sutter and Yuba counties, has helped revolutionize walnut pruning strategies.
UC Cooperative Extension advisor Janine Hasey has helped revolutionize the way farmers prune their walnut trees, reported Tim Hearden in a lengthy feature story published in Capital Press.

Hasey, a plant pathologist by training, conducts research and works with farmers on a wide variety of crops, plant systems and cultural methods in Sutter and Yuba counties. She called the results of the walnut pruning research "a real paradigm shift."

Hasey and Bruce Lampinen, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, learned that trees that have been trimmed sparingly or not at all produced a bigger yield than trees that were pruned more aggressively.

"We've had several growers adopt it," Hasey said. "We always caution growers that whenever we have something new, to do it on smaller acreages first to see how it works. But there are several growers who are adopting it now because it's working so well. We do have fairly long-term data."

 

e’ve had several growers adopt it,” Hasey said. “We always caution growers that whenever we have something new, to do it on smaller acreages first to see how it works. But there are several growers who are adopting it now because it’s working so well. We do have fairly long-term data.” - See more at: http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131219/ARTICLE/131219878/1020#sthash.W3hZe7wL.dpuf
“We’ve had several growers adopt it,” Hasey said. “We always caution growers that whenever we have something new, to do it on smaller acreages first to see how it works. But there are several growers who are adopting it now because it’s working so well. We do have fairly long-term data.” - See more at: http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131219/ARTICLE/131219878/1020#sthash.W3hZe7wL.dpuf
“We’ve had several growers adopt it,” Hasey said. “We always caution growers that whenever we have something new, to do it on smaller acreages first to see how it works. But there are several growers who are adopting it now because it’s working so well. We do have fairly long-term data.” - See more at: http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131219/ARTICLE/131219878/1020#sthash.W3hZe7wL.dpuf
“We’ve had several growers adopt it,” Hasey said. “We always caution growers that whenever we have something new, to do it on smaller acreages first to see how it works. But there are several growers who are adopting it now because it’s working so well. We do have fairly long-term data.” - See more at: http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131219/ARTICLE/131219878/1020#sthash.W3hZe7wL.dpuf
Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 2:05 PM
Tags: Janine Hasey (6), walnuts (21)

UC estimates production costs for walnuts, wine grapes, hay, blackeye beans

UC now has cost estimates for growing conventional and organic walnuts.
New studies showing production costs for conventionally and organically grown walnuts, organic alfalfa hay, wine grapes and single- and double-cropped blackeye beans are now available from the University of California Cooperative Extension.

Each analysis is based upon hypothetical farm operations using practices common in the region. Input and reviews were provided by UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors, researchers, growers, farm accountants, pest control advisers, consultants and other agricultural associates.

Each report describes the assumptions used to identify current costs for the individual crops, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. A ranging analysis table shows profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The six new cost studies are the following:

  • Sample Costs to Produce Organic Walnuts, 2013, North Coast by Rachel B. Elkins, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura.
  • Sample Costs to Produce Organic Alfalfa Hay, 2013, California by Rachael F. Long, Steve B. Orloff, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura.
  • Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Walnuts, 2013, Northern San Joaquin Valley by Joseph A. Grant, Janet L. Caprile, David A. Doll, Kathleen Kelly Anderson, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura.
  • Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Wine Grapes, 2013, Sacramento Valley by Chuck A. Ingels, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura.
  • Sample Costs to Produce Blackeye Beans (double-cropped), 2013, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Sample Costs to Produce Blackeye Beans (single-cropped), 2013, Southern San Joaquin Valley by Carol A. Frate, Karen M. Klonsky and Richard L. De Moura.

The cost of production studies for these and other crops are available online at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu, at UC Cooperative Extension offices or by calling (530) 752-3589.

For additional information about the studies, contact Richard De Moura at rdemoura@ucdavis.edu.

 

Posted on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Walnuts are trending upward

Walnuts, unlike almonds, don't need bees for pollination.
Proven health benefits is increasing demand for walnuts, and farmers are reacting by planting more trees, according to an article in the Chico Enterprise-Record. The trend has created a backlog for new trees.

"All the nut crops are doing very well," said Joe Connell, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Butte County. Markets for almonds, pistachios and walnuts have expanded, and prices are firm, he said.

In 2011, walnuts became the No. 1 crop in Butte County. If growers want to plant new walnut orchards, they must get on a waiting list to buy them in 2015.

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 9:43 AM
Tags: Joe Connell (11), walnuts (21)

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