February 2021, Issue 9

Shelling Out Useful, Real-World Almond Knowledge

As we continue to move into almond bloom, the time to start is now. Every month brings new needs and new possibilities to your orchard, so we’ve done our best to put together the following advice for your almonds.
Importance of New Root Growth
A new year is upon us and soon almonds will be breaking dormancy to kick off the 2021 growing season.  As the proverbial question asks, which came first, the chicken or the egg?  One might ask, which comes first, new roots or new leaves? As can be seen in the graphics below it is clear that immediately following bloom leaf out begins and after that, the first flush of spring root growth occurs (research done by Patrick Brown, et al). This is important for both timing and source of the first nitrogen application.
Olivos, Volder and Brown. 2014
First, and this is very important, nitrogen applied prior to bloom has NO effect on bloom, early leaf growth, and shoot expansion. These processes are entirely driven by nutrients stored over winter from last year's fertility program.  Soil nutrient uptake will not occur until trees are active and leaves are transpiring. Without a transpiration stream pulling in soil moisture and the soluble nutrients contained in the root zone, there is no nutrient uptake.  Bottom line nitrogen applications made too early in the spring may be lost by leaching (worst in coarse-textured soils) and/or denitrification (worst in fine-textured soils).

The UC recommendation for spring-applied N is about 20% of the seasonal total be applied in mid to late February or into early March. This represents the right time.

Source of nitrogen for spring applications while soil temperatures are cool or downright cold, may also be an important consideration. Most of the nitrogen taken up by almond is in the nitrate form because nitrate is mobile in soils and moves by the mass stream and is readily pulled into roots with the transpiration stream.  Ammonium is not mobile in soils and is fixed near the point of application. Uptake of ammonium is by diffusion across very short distances in the soil. Conversion of ammonium to nitrate is mediated by soil bacteria and is a temperature-driven process. When soils are warm nitrification may be as rapid as 10-14 days. But when soil temperature in the root zone is colder this conversion will require a significantly longer period of time. See chart below
 So, to meet early-season nitrogen needs a portion, if not most of the nitrogen should be applied in the nitrate form.  Your Wilbur-Ellis field agronomist will select the proper formulation to meet your needs based on current environmental conditions and anticipated yield.
Carl Bruice, Wilbur-Ellis National Nutrition Technical Manager
Dormant Spray Scale Applications
The first question to ask yourself is, why am I doing a dormant oil spray in the first place? The number one reason to do a dormant spray instead of treating in season is for San Jose scale control. If you do not have a large enough scale population to justify treatment, then maybe this is the year to skip. The other pests that are controlled with a dormant spray can be treated later in the season if it is skipped.
If your scale population necessitates a spray, there are still a few opportunities if you missed the dormant window. 
  1. Delayed dormant spray: There is still time to do an oil spray before bloom if time and field conditions permit. Caution must be exercised now that beehives are starting to roll into orchards from all over the country. Best management practices for Bee Safety would be to remove the pyrethroid insecticide from the spray if bees are within ¼ mile. Applications of oil should be halted once the green tip is found in the field or if conditions get warm and dry prior to bloom. Consult your PCA for oil rates, water volume, and insecticide recommendations.
  2. MOVENTO® sprays in season: MOVENTO® can be applied once full leaf-out has completed for San Jose Scale control. Time the spray 2 weeks post petal fall, this will give all varieties time to leaf out, while not missing the spring crawler emergence. Movento is not a knockdown product, it takes a couple of weeks to become lethal in the plant, applications made at the onset of crawler emergence may be too late.
  3. IGR treatments in season: Centaur and Seize can be used in the season for control of crawlers because the material is an IGR it is not effective against adult scale. The product interferes with the molting process of young scale, since adult scale no longer molt it has no effect on them. The benefit is that the product is very selective and very safe on beneficials. Proper timing is essential for control of crawlers, to time applications, attach double-sided sticky tape to branches with scale populations. Once scale crawlers are seen glued to the tape you can be sure the crawler emergence has begun and it is time to apply an IGR treatment.
If you have a scale population that needs to be treated there are still options on the table even if you missed the dormant time frame. Delayed dormant oil and Movento/IGR’s in season are still viable options if needed. Contact your local Wilbur-Ellis Agronomist to discuss the options available to you.
Justin Burrows, Wilbur-Ellis PCA & Sales Representative
Use Recommendation Changes for Luna® Sensation and Luna® Experience

Bayer understands the current EU MRL of 0.05 ppm for Fluopyram (the active ingredient in Luna Sensation® Fungicide and Luna Experience® Fungicide) in almonds will likely be lowered to 0.03 ppm in Q2 2021 (the exact date is still unknown).

Due to this change in the MRL for fluopyram (Luna) Bayer is revising the use recommendation for both Luna® products for this upcoming 2021 season in almonds. Based on internal trial data, we are recommending that applications be made no later than 30 days after full bloom, which we believe will result in compliant residues. The revised use recommendations only apply to almonds.

Brooks Craven, Wilbur-Ellis PCA & Sales Representative
BAYER U.S. - Crop Science
Nutrient Timing During Almond Bloom
There are numerous obstacles to account for when developing a bloom foliar fertilizer program in almonds. Rains can complicate application timings and bee activity must be accounted for. Last year’s record crop will make the retention of viable buds during the 2021 bloom period very important as orchards recover.  An important strategy when developing this program is to first prioritize nutrients/products so vital nutritional components are not overlooked. Once we know which nutrients will be prioritized, we are then able to properly match these nutrients with proper application timing (See diagram below).
The diagram above represents a general outline for the application timing of various nutrients/products. The important takeaway point from the diagram is that various nutrients are more or less efficacious depending on the stage of bloom during application. It is important to apply slow-release Nitrogen early in the blooming process and avoid open flowers. Slow-release nitrogen has been shown to build tissue levels during post petal fall during leaf emergence and expansion however and should be considered for later timed sprays as well.
Boron is important during the bloom period as it is critical for pollen tube elongation and fertilization. Boron applications made after pink bud have no effect on bloom set and, on some occasions, could depress yield. The effectiveness of Boron applications is highly dependent on application timing and should be done as early on during bloom as possible.
Micronutrients, outside of boron, have much more of a forgiving application timing which makes them suitable tank mixes with any sprayer ride through the orchard. It is still recommended to apply these nutrients as early as you can to ensure that weather conditions do not prevent the application itself.  Micronutrients vary in their role during bloom but are commonly deficient in summer tissue samples. It is common for soil chemistry outside of ideal conditions to greatly hinder the uptake of micronutrients through transpiration.
Matt Comrey, Wilbur-Ellis Technical Nutrition Agronomist
Last Chance for Budgets! 

Spring is approaching quickly and the Almond season is on our heels. Get in touch with your Wilbur-Ellis Rep ASAP to build a season-long materials budget for you. Through a combination of market knowledge, risk management, and in-depth analysis of farmland and farm data, we will look at your entire operation to help you make the best possible decisions. 
  • WECO reps produce material expense budgets for WECO customers.
  • Treatment programs are discussed and budgeted for before the season begins.
  • Having a strategy before the season allows for better treatment timings
  • The premeditated strategy allows you to understand your inputs and feel good about your decisions.
  • Simplifies data while monitoring and maximizing ROI
  • Your banks will love it
Talk to your Wilbur-Ellis Representatives for more information on your farm budgets Today!

Trenton Crouch, Wilbur-Ellis PCA & Sales Representative
Bee Mindful
Do your research BEFORE spraying– there is now an excellent new tool where you can register and identify beehives near you. Be sure to check out this new tool at before you spray.

Wilbur-Ellis advocates to be cautious and avoid application while pollinators are actively foraging, if at all possible. Please work with your local Wilbur-Ellis representative and local beekeepers regarding this topic.
If you choose to make a spray application, do so during bee periods of minimal bee activity, such as nighttime or when temperatures are cool.
Bee Best Management Practices - Almond Board


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