Almond Growers Feel the Heat

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Innovation

Record high summer temperatures paired with a dry winter and less moisture in California are turning up the heat on growers and pest control advisors (PCAs) when it comes to protecting their crops. High temperatures accelerate almond hull split risk, increasing vulnerability to pests and disease.

As growers spray at hull split, adding Movento into their integrated pest management (IPM) program can provide control of difficult above and below ground pests and suppress nematodes.

Overcoming the Dangers of Nematodes
Seasoned PCA Tim Weststeyn with Crop Production Services out of Vernalis, California, knows all too well the damage that a variety of pests can cause to almond crops. When he steps into an almond grove with high ring nematode pressures he cannot see the plant-crippling pests, but their presence is impossible to miss. The microscopic nematodes damage plants by feeding on roots, depriving the plant of much-needed nutrients and water. Nematode damage leaves the plant and previously healthy trees susceptible to a range of threats, including bacterial canker, a damaging disease nematodes transmit.

“You’ll have dieback in a tree, gumming, oozing, the limbs will suddenly die, buds will fall off the tree, they will look like they got burnt and they pretty much die,” Weststeyn explained.

According to the University of California, the pressures from nematodes reduce growth and yield, two of the most important things to Weststeyn and the profitability of the 4,000 to 5,000 acres of tree nuts he consults on for growers.

The dangers posed by nematodes and other pests drive many growers to fumigate at planting to reduce infestation. But, as expert PCAs know all too well, fumigation only lasts for so long. Eventually, pest populations begin to creep back up, causing crop destruction.

Movento Helps Almond Crops Thrive
“We don’t have many post-plant treatments for nematodes that are reliable,” explained Andy Dugo, a PCA from the Escalon branch of Mid Valley Ag Services. “I see Movento as being the only solution we’ve got that looks like it’s going to work.”

Movento from Bayer CropScience can be applied as a foliar spray after crops are established and serves as an integral part of a season-long pest management program. Movento’s two-way systemic action provides the management of multiple above-and-below-ground pests on almonds, including nematodes, aphids and more.

After three years of treating established almond trees with Movento, Weststeyn and Dugo can now walk through their fields and see fuller, healthier, greener trees that provide promise of a bountiful harvest.

Graphic of a leafy plant

Weststeyn saw an abundance of healthy nuts in his growers’ established orchards that were treated with Movento. Although it is too early to tell exactly how much larger the harvest will be, he expects an improvement from 900 pounds of almonds last year to around 3,000 pounds this year.

Weststeyn and Dugo share company with many PCAs working in the fields who continue to confirm research pointing to Movento’s effectiveness in long-term management of nematode populations. As Movento consistently aids plants as a part of an IPM program to help establish stronger roots, the insecticide has the potential to help growers enjoy a larger, healthier crop.

With temperatures rising and hull-split spraying underway, now is the perfect time to add Movento your IPM program for protection of your crops. Learn more at www.Movento.us.

Tweet us photos of your almond trees at @Bayer4CropsUS or leave us a comment below with your favorite thing about being an almond grower!

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