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.

Bob Beede


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.

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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.

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January 2015 - Review

WHAT ABOUT USING OIL THIS YEAR?

By Robert 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.

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March 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

PISTACHIO PRODUCTION

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

Hoorah APG!
The American Pistachio Growers, with tremendous sponsor support from their processor members and allied industry, hit another grand slam with an outstanding annual conference full of valuable industry information and fun. The conference was standing room only with over 900 attendees. Congratulations to the entire APG staff for exceptional organization and execution.

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April 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

PISTACHIO PRODUCTION

By Bob Beede, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor, Emeritus, in Hanford

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. 

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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.

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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. 

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October 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

By Robert 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.

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December 2015 - Task List for Pistachios

By Robert 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. 

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January 2016 - Task List for Pistachios

By Robert 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.

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February 2016 - Task List for Pistachios

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. Let’s do an update together to see where we stand for 2016. 

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September 2016 - Task List for Pistachios

By Robert 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. 

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October 2016 - Pistachio Task List

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.

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January 2017 - Pistachio Task List

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.

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February 2017 - Pistachio Task List

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. 

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