THE WASP CAN HAMPER FARMERS FROM SELLING THEIR ALMONDS

The plague of the almond wasp is a fact. On February 28, 2019, the “Diario Oficial de Castilla-La Mancha” has decreed the existence of a plague caused Eurytoma amydali, almond wasp, in the community of Castilla-La Mancha.

It is a hymenoptera insect of the Eurytomidae family, the males usually measure between 4-6mm long and the females between 7-8mm, both are black and elongated. They lay the eggs white, oval in shape and with some protuberances.

When the egg hatches, the larva appears which has a grayish color and it is fed from the almond until it completes its development.

It is during the spring, the date depends on the environmental conditions, when the adults perforate the fruits to cause their exit to the outside, making a hole between 1 and 2 mm in diameter on it.

Once they have left the fruit that had remained in the tree since the previous season, the wasp begins to develop again egg-laying inside the almonds of the new campaign, putting an average of between 50 and 100 eggs , which are divided into several fruits. In addition, before making the egg laying, this insect itches on the stem that joins the fruit to the tree, generating as a kind of glue that makes the fruit stick to the tree more consistently, making it difficult to fall during the period of collection.

The varieties that are most sensitive to this pest are those with the softest and late flowering, among them: Guara, Ferragnes, Penta, etc

This pest can cause damage between 40-80% of the fruits, reducing production by up to 90%. All this has led to the development of a series of exceptional measures aimed at eliminating or reducing this pest completely.

Among the most important is the mandatory application by farmers of plant protection products during the time of emergency of the wasp since the chemical fight is aimed primarily at adults, thus preventing them from making new egg laying. Reaching the egg or the larva is more complicated since they are housed inside the almond.

It is recommended the installation of traps that allow observing the evolution of this insect to be able to program and perform more effectively the application of treatments. And as a cultural measure, it is essential to remove the infected almonds that have remained in the tree of previous campaigns and burn them.

In organic almond plantations, the application of phytosanitary products to combat this pest must also be carried out exceptionally, and the application must be communicated to the control body. In this case, the production obtained cannot be marketed as organic.

Source: Estación regional de avisos agrícolas / Sanidad Vegetal – C.I.A. G El Chaparrillo

Diario Oficial de Castilla-La Mancha.

https://docm.castillalamancha.es/portaldocm/descargarArchivo.do?ruta=2019/02/28/pdf/2019_2011.pdf&tipo=rutaDocm

ORGANIC AGRICULTURE VS CONVENTIONAL AGRICULTURE

ORGANIC AGRICULTURE VS CONVENTIONAL AGRICULTURE

Agriculture emerged approximately 10,000 years ago in what became known as the “Neolithic revolution”. It was from the moment, the civilization has been trying to modify natural processes in order to obtain the necessary food to satisfy their basic needs.

Throughout this period of time, there have been innumerable technological and productive innovations that have occurred, highlighting the changes that emerged after the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century and especially those arising from the “green revolution” of the mid-twentieth century.

It is precisely the “green revolution” that defines the principles of what is now known as conventional agriculture, an agriculture characterized by the use of agricultural machinery, improved seeds and agrochemicals, aimed at increasing food production without taking into account the damage that these practices can cause to the environment.

And, on the other hand, we have the concept of organic agriculture that emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century as a result of concern for food quality and the conservation of the nature.

At this point we consider the following questions:

1.- Do conventional products have the same quality as organic products?

Organic production uses production methods that differ from those used in conventional agriculture, although both pursue the same objective of achieving high quality food.

Organic farming does not use chemical products to combat pests or weeds, but various agronomic practices are used to avoid these products, such as the rotation of land or the use of more resistant varieties. With organic farming, we look for a fresh, seasonal product, without any chemical treatment that is as natural as possible. Therefore, the quality of organic products may be higher than conventional products.

2.– Do organic products have a different flavor than conventional ones?

Many consumers claim that the taste of organic products is better than conventional products; however, there are no scientific studies that can prove this claim. But it is true that organic products have an authentic flavor, explained by their production in a natural way.

3.- Why are organic products more expensive than conventional ones?

An organic product, as a rule, usually needs more time to be produced, more work, more controls subject to certification and other treatment techniques that a conventional product does not need. All these are costs that have to be imputed to the final price of the product; hence they have a higher price than conventional products.

In summary, whether conventional or organic agriculture, a series of environmental practices can be followed, such as those recommended by FAO that have benefits for both food production and environmental conservation, therefore, agriculture should be promoted, integrated, focused on reducing the use of chemicals in both organic and conventional agriculture and then ensure a natural production.

Beneficios de comer almendra

Benefits of eating almonds

Benefits of eating almonds

Almonds are considered one of the most nutritious nuts and they contain a large number of beneficial properties for our organism.

They are an ideal food as an appetizer, raw or roasted, being very healthy for the human body due to their high content of minerals such as phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium, etc. and vitamins E, A, D, C, PP, B1 and B2.

Almonds daily consumption on a regular basis and in small quantities can bring us different benefits, among them; we will highlight the following ones:

-Almonds prevent from suffering cardiovascular diseases.

-They help to lose weight. They are rich in fiber, protein and a healthy type of fat. In addition, they help to reduce hunger and the desire to eat.

-They are very good for the brain, their content in amino acids and oils help the brain to maintain the concentration, at the same time, the frequent consumption of almonds drives the brain to have a greater activity, helping to reduce the risk of suffering from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Their consumption also helps to minimize stress and reduce the risk of insomnia.

-Almonds are rich in tyrosine, a key amino acid for the production of dopamine, known as the “hormone of happiness” which in turn is a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting signals between neurons and controlling mental and emotional responses, therefore, they are fundamental for well-being or motivation.

-The high content of phosphorus and calcium in almonds makes them a powerful food to protect bones, teeth and muscles.

-They protect the skin, their content in vitamin E, one of the most powerful antioxidants, predicts premature aging.

– They help to fight diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels.

-Almonds reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack.

-They reduce cholesterol; their content in fatty acids, antioxidants and monounsaturated fats helps to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol.

-During pregnancy, almonds intake is very beneficial for their high content of folic acid, promoting the proper development of the fetus.

 

Leche de almendras

Almond milk

The origin of almond milk dates back to ancient Greece, although it would be during the Middle Ages when this drink became popular, being consumed by both Christians and Muslims.

Almond milk made with almonds became a substitute for cow’s milk during the Lenten season, besides its plant origin, allowed its conservation for a period of time longer than of animal origin. These were the main reasons that led to success.

Almond milk has a flavor that is very similar to cow’s milk, being its aroma much lighter.

Although it is true, it is not a very common product in the shopping cart of consumers, but little by little it has been making inroads into household consumption thanks to the numerous benefits it presents. Its consumption has always been recommended by doctors and specialists.

Among its benefits we could highlight the following:

-Help regulate cholesterol.

-Presents a high content of potassium, which helps improve potassium levels after episodes of diarrhea or vomiting

-Contributes to improve gastritis or gastrointestinal problems

– Its high content of soluble and insoluble natural fiber protects the intestinal wall, especially in favor of the colon, helping to regulate the absorption of sugars and cholesterol.

-High content of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps prevent the onset of cancer.

-Does not have gluten.

-It contains vitamin B2 that helps strengthen hair and nails.

In addition, this drink is especially indicated for pregnant women since it allows controlling fatigue and dizziness, facilitating digestion or contributing to the correct development of the baby’s bones, among many other factors.

However, although almond milk is a great nutritional food, its consumption is not recommended for all people due to various factors such as allergy to nuts or thyroid problems, therefore, it is recommended to consult first with the doctor.

Finally, we leave you the recipe to make your own almond milk:

Ingredients: One cup of raw almonds, three glasses of water, salt and sugar.

  1. Put the almonds to soak overnight
  2. Drain and clean the almonds
  3. Mix the three glasses of water with the almonds already drained
  4. Blend the mixture for 10 minutes
  5. When everything is well mixed, add a little sugar or honey and a little salt
  6. Strain the mixture obtained in the blender
  7. Enjoy almond milk!

The California Subjective Crop Estimatimation for 2018 is estimated at 2.3 Billion Pounds.

The California Subjective Crop Estimation for 2018 is estimated at 2.3 Billion Pounds

The subjective almond estimation, which is the opinion based on grower interviews by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, suggests almond production could be 2.3 billion pounds this year, slightly higher than last year’s record-setting 2.27 billion pounds of production. Forecasted yield is 2,150 pounds per acre, down 5.3 percent from the 2017 yield of 2,270 pounds per acre.

The 2018 California almond bloom began a few days earlier than normal. The bloom period was extended, due to cold temperatures, and lasted a few weeks. Frosts during bloom hit orchards hard, especially on the east side of the valley. Younger trees were impacted more severely than older trees. Weather during the spring was variable, leading many growers to be unsure about their 2018 crop. As temperatures warmed up in May, nuts were sizing well.

Therefore, this year in spite of all concerns about freezing weather during almond Bloom, we will have a much bigger crop than expected.

This can lead to a slight highward trend in Spanish almond prices due to the spected harvest was higher.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service

The correct pollination for almond trees, guarantee of succes

With the spring coming the almond trees flowering starts, a spectacle of the nature where the almond trees show their colorful and aromatic flowers to attract the attention from the insects, which get feed with the nectar of their flowers and at the same time they make the pollination.

But, which really consists the pollination process in? Basically it consists on transporting the pollen from the stamens to the stigmas, where it germinates and finished fertilizing the ovules of the flowers which afterwards the almonds appear. The pollen transport is produced mainly through the insects, being the bees the most common within the pollination vectors.

In the almond tree, the pollination is a very important process; a correct pollination process is traduced to a remarkable increase in the production, even reaching levels from 25% to 30% of increases. This doesn’t affect only to trees which are not self-fertile, it must also be had into account for new varieties if want to improve its efficiency.

Because of that, there are some elements which are essential in order to establish a correct plantation; between them we can find the design, the hive positions and the election of self-fertile varieties.

Xylella Fastidiosa, a problem for the almond sector

The Xylella Fastidiosa is starting to be a serious problem which threats a huge part of almond trees of the east of Spain and the Spanish almond sector.

It began being an exceptional thing in Europe, located in the Italian region of Puglia, it has been converted to a plague which has been extended by various zones of the Spanish geography.

These bacteria, which are transmitted by a kind of sucking insects, block the flow of the sap until it causes the death of the plant. It doesn’t only affect almond trees, it also affect olive trees, peach trees, apricot trees….Being translated to numbers it could affect to five millions of hectares, this reflect the grate magnitude it can reach if we do not control its expansion on time.

For the time being, there are not phytosanitary treatments in order to prevent it or eliminate it, for this reason its control is limited to manage the plants of garden centers for new fields and destroy the affected trees.

This is an illness which is causing big losses in the almond sector in many zones where it has been cultivate very traditionally, we are seeing how a huge number of fields are being uproot, this is translated to important reductions in the almond production.

flor helada, impacto en el precio de la almendra californiana

The strong frosts cause a huge uncertainty among the Californian almond producers

The cold wave and the forecast for following days of low temperatures are causing a great worry among the Californian almond producers.

In this moment almond trees are initiating their flowering, a situation of a huge vulnerability that could produce almond losses if the low temperatures continue. All this can cause a great reduction in the almonds production, what will be translated to a minor offer available in the market that inevitably will lead us to a strong price rise.

As we well know, California is the largest almond producer in the world; with approximately the 80% of the world production thus everyone will notice the impact of these frosts.

Meanwhile, in countries like Spain, the strong storm that is happening is causing also a lot of damages in certain cultivations, almond trees between them, in some zones of the peninsular west the flowering period had started and it has caused many damages in the almond production.

All this facts have caused a huge uncertainty around the almond price, leaving both offer and demand very expectant to this situation.

Drought, the great threat of the Spanish fields

It is obvious the great problem the lack of rain is creating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is a long time without rains, this fact has increase even more the worries of thousands Spanish agricultures. In addition, this lack of water means that the reservoirs have reduce their level of capacity considerably, reaching numbers that we haven’t reach from 22 years ago, putting in danger the availability of water for some cultivations in the Spanish fields.

Facing this situation, the Spanish Agriculture Minister Isabel Garcia Tejerina has announced that if it won’t rain, they could restrict the water use for watering, in order to be able to guarantee the human consumption.

This drought has reduced the productions of many crops; among them we can find almond trees, whose production has dropped around the 25% in relation to the previous season, according to Miguel Blanco, general secretary of the agricultural organization COAG.

This huge problem has caused agricultures hire more insurances, in order to try to reduce the damages this situation is causing.

As final reflection, we want to mention that this problem must be faced when we have water, not when the drought problem exists, thus we need to improve the managing of this source so important to avoid reaching this situations so dramatics as the one we are living in the Spanish fields.