Pistachio Production Series

By Bob Beede

Farm Advisor Emeritus
Bob Beede has lived and worked in the San Joaquin Valley of California his whole career. He earned BS and MS degrees focusing on Plant Science, Agrarian Studies, and Postharvest Physiology at the University of California (UC) at Davis. For 35 years Bob worked as a UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor working out of Kings County. Although he is now retired, Bob continues to advise on a broad range of topics including pest management, entomology, plant pathology, cultural practices, plant physiology, herbicides, irrigation practices, soils, and water. His goals are to extend knowledge to farmers and agriculturalists through educational programs, publications such as APG eNews, farm calls, and to perform research related to his areas of expertise.

 


February 2017 - Task List for Pistachios


By Robert Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Pistachio growers are out pruning trees, destroying overwintering mummies, finishing up their pre-emergent weed treatments, fixing equipment, and assessing what the crop potential is for this season. Here is an update on where we stand for 2017.

Rain and Irrigation: Wahoo!! Every time it rains, I just stop and watch, and give thanks! Believe it or not, the rainfall pattern has been tracking the wettest recorded winter of 1982-83, and the “Atmospheric River” occurring just after the New Year puts 2017 ahead as of mid-January!

Read more >


January 2017 - Task List for Pistachios


By Robert Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Chilling and Cold Weather Update: Those of you who are outside every day know that it has been pretty warm. The only cold weather occurred during the first week of December in which many locations within the Central Valley experienced three to five days of temperatures ranging from 30-320°F. The Colusa CIMIS station reported 260°F the morning of December 6. Table 1 provides the chill portions for various sites throughout the Valley between September 1 and December 13 for the past four winters, as well as 2010 in which over 70 chill portions were accumulated by February 15. This exceeds the 58-60 chill portions estimated to satisfy the rest requirement of the Kerman cultivar. The Peters male may have a chill portion requirement as great as 65.

Read more >


October 2016 - Task List for Pistachios


By Robert Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Harvest Wrap up: By the time you read this, another hectic harvest will be in the bag, and you are now pouring over your grade sheets to assess the outcome of all your hard work. The word on the street is that at least 800 million pounds were brought to processors this season.

Early harvested nuts had navel orangeworm levels at one percent or less, and then it steadily rose, just like we have told you for decades, to reach an average of 2.6 percent on September 26. One factor that may have contributed to the NOW problem is malfunctioning pheromone-confusion dispensers. Apparently, changes in the propellant resulted in varnishing of the nozzle and reduced pheromone emission. This is not the case with all dispensers in all orchards, so please do not make this statement the universal reason for your insect damage. It is, however, something you should investigate if mating disruption was not as effective this year. I still believe mating disruption is our future, just like winter sanitation is the cornerstone for a sound NOW management program.

Read more >


September 2016 - Task List for Pistachios

Pistachio Production

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Harvest: Growers started shaking Golden Hills and Kalehgucci the week of August 22, but I do not think most Kerman orchards (those still on P. atlantica will be earliest) will be ready until the first week in September. Everyone seems to now realize there are a lot of pistachios to harvest, thus there are already discussions about not having enough trucks or processing capacity to handle the peak. Time will tell.

Several large ranch managers have plans to run day and night in order to provide a more uniform delivery schedule. Safety becomes a big concern when people have to press this hard, so keep reminding people to watch out for one another in order to prevent accidents. They happen in an instant, but the memory lasts forever!

Read more >


February 2016 - Task List for Pistachios

Rain and Irrigation

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

If you think the drought is over, check out the reservoir and snowpack status at my website: http://cekings.ucanr.edu/Agriculture/Grapes_Tree_Fruits_Nut_Crops/. Select “Management” in the main menu, then “Water and Weather.” Select “Snowpack Status” from the menu, which will link you to the state water resources webpage.

This page converts snowpack into water content and plots it for three major sections of the state. It also compares this year to wet and dry seasons and the 30-year average. These plots really provide a visual picture of where we stand in water availability. Thus far, the snowpack is tracking the 30-year average. This is obviously far better than last year, but still much less than the benchmark wet winter of 1982.

Read more >


January 2016 - Task List for Pistachios

Chilling and Cold Weather

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Chilling and Cold Weather Update: We have eased into the cold weather this year, and thus far have not had any really low temps that might hurt the pistachio trees. You can drive around and still see plenty of almond trees with a full head of hair. Thus far, the chill accumulation for this winter appears good statewide. Table 1 provides the chill portions for various sites throughout the Valley between September 1 and December 13 for the past three winters, and 2010, in which over 70 chill portions were accumulated by February 15. This is well in excess of the 58-60 chill portions estimated to satisfy the rest requirement of the Kerman cultivar. The Peters male may have a chill portion requirement as great as 65. The values in parentheses are the total chill portions accumulated by station and year.

Read more >


Bob Beede on RDIDS Series

Watch a special presentation by Bob Beede regarding regulated deficit irrigation and drought strategies.

Bob discusses the importance of watering during critical stages of growth to produce optimal pistachio production in the 3 part series below.

Pistachio Production Seminars




At the American Pistachio Industry 2015 Annual Conference in San Diego, Bob Beede, UCCE Farm Advisor, Emeritus, led an informational packed Production Research Seminar on Tuesday, February 17. Below are the presentations for members who missed the seminar:

Bob Beede’s presentation “Guidelines for Young and Mature Pistachio Tree Fertilization”click here to view the presentation.

Dr. Joel Siegel’s presentation “Developing a Successful Navel Orangeworm Management Program”click here to view the presentation.

Dr. Michael McKenry’s presentation “What We Currently Know about Nematodes in Pistachios”click here to view the presentation.


APG hosted a number of members-only pistachio production seminars on June 20, 24 and 25, 2014 led by Bob Beede, UCCE Farm Advisor, Emeritus.
During the session, Bob distributed a thought-provoking “pop quiz” about pistachio production – click here to download the quiz and answer key.


December 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

Pistachio Production

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

For farmers, there never seems to be much “downtime” anymore. With harvest completed, you now have to prep the ground for planting next spring, tune up the herbicide rig for your pre-emergent berm treatments, apply soil amendments, and begin your pruning and sanitation program. It is ALSO time to purchase and install a simple temperature recorder in each orchard so that you have real-time weather data to refer to for chill accumulation and assessment of freeze events.

Read more >


October 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

Pistachio Harvest/Pest Management

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Harvest: It was fast and brutally disappointing for many growers in areas with insufficient chilling. Many growers report harvesting 100-200 pounds, and some orchards were apparently not harvested at all. Orchards on the east side of the southern San Joaquin Valley performed much better where the chill accumulation was higher. I have heard of near-normal crops in this region, with split and blank nut percentages typical for the area. In contrast, a high elevation orchard near the base of the Tehachapi Mountains had only 100 pounds ACP weight. People keep asking what happened, so I guess we have to come up with a Martin story rather than the excessively simple answer of inadequate winter chilling!

Read more >


September/October 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

Pistachio Production

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Harvest: I think nut maturity is about the same as last year. Chris Wiley, Agri-World Ranch manager, and veteran of over 35 harvests, called the other day lamenting the loss of a “normal” harvest year. Like a fine wine, he reminisced about the “harvest of ‘98,” when a single five-second shake rained all the nuts onto the catch frames with great quality.

The observations of Chris and many others suggest that this harvest is NOT going to be a vintage year. Individual trees vary greatly in maturity within a given orchard, and the percent-fill will not be known until the first grade sheets are available. If you have been out cutting clusters, you at least have some idea what to expect. Those who have not are going to be asking to recheck the bills of laden, thinking that several loads never made it to the processor.

Read more >


May 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

Pistachio Production

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Field Oil Observations: With the help of my good buddy, Carl Fanucchi, I have continued rating trees treated with and without oil in Buttonwillow and Tejon, as well as observing trees in Kettleman City, on the west side up to Firebaugh, and on the east side of Madera. I have also fielded many calls from growers unhappy about the lack of uniformity from oil treatment, and whether or not flower-bud drop was related to the oil. I wish I had answers to all the conditions I have seen in the field. About the only thing I know for sure is that in the 10 years that I studied oil application and its rest-breaking effects, I never saw all of the problems that I have seen in the past two years. This, of course, begs the question, why?

Read more >


April 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

Pistachio Production

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Field Observations: I went to Kern County to look at oiled and non-oiled pistachios with my good buddy, Carl Fanucchi, on March 12 and 19. Much of this effort was to gain personal knowledge of how oiling in mid- to late-January is performing. Carl has supported this timing for many years, but there has never been a replicated trial done to confirm its performance. I have also never seen any bud push and bloom rating reports from growers or PCAs in the area that compared treated and non-treated trees. UC is all about having replicated data to support its educational program. The reasons for this are hopefully obvious to you, even though you believe the Coffee Shop Trials more than you do ours!

Read more >


March 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

Pistachio Production

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

Season Preview:
The actual numbers vary by date of inquiry, but the bottom line is that we are bracing ourselves for yet another dry season. As of February 10, the statewide snowpack is only 25 percent of normal, down from 50 percent in December, due to warm temperatures in January. Unfortunately, the promising December storms were followed by a near-rainless January, which is historically our wettest month. December rains pounding the northern part of the state did little to replenish the depleted Central Valley reservoirs. However, they have allowed water transport into the San Luis Reservoir, which is critical for Westside growers. Insufficient rain means another year of heavy reliance upon groundwater, now at its lowest level in recorded history. This all adds up to the fact that everyone has to do what they can to optimize application rather than waste what a fellow farmer is in desperate need of.

Read more >


January 2015 - Review

What About Using Oil This Year?

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

The decision depends on the value of harvesting four to five days sooner, the degree of alternate bearing, the condition and age of the orchard, and how deficient you are in chilling. My oil tests show that six gallons of the 415 oil applied between late January and mid-February worked as well as Volck® (a 476 oil no longer available) in years with sufficient chilling. I would use at least a 440 oil when chill portions are marginal (estimated 53 portions). In areas with less than 46 chill portions (estimated to be about 550 hours of effective chilling below 450F), I recommend using a 470 oil.

Read more >


November 2014 - Review

Navel Orangeworm Review

By Bob Beede, U.C. Farm Advisor, Emeritus

As we wrap up another season, processors and most growers are elated over the low navel orangeworm (NOW) damage experienced this year. Discussions with the NOW researchers and crop consultants suggest there are several factors that worked in our favor besides us just getting lucky. Dr. Joel Siegel and crop advisers have trap data suggesting that the overwintering NOW population was markedly less this season than 2013 and 2012. The new adult lure is also reported to have greatly improved the ability to identify the beginning of new generations. However, we still lack the ability to correlate trap catches with potential damage. NOW flight activity also appears to be correlating with the degree-day system; Dr. Siegel has suggested using January 1 as an arbitrary beginning date, rather than initiating heat unit accumulation after establishment of a true biofix (consistent moth catches from the overwintering generation in late March to early April).

Read more >