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Posts Tagged: David Doll

The enigma of almond pronunciation explained

UC ANR's David Doll, a UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Merced County, is considered the go-to guy for almonds. Doll writes the Almond Doctor blog.
People in California are divided over whether the “L” in the word almond is pronounced or silent, reported Ezra David Romero on Valley Public Radio.

As a general rule, farmers in the northern part of the state say “am-end” and farmers in southern areas say “almond.” In a quest for an explanation, Romero spoke to numerous farmers and ag industry professionals who all told a version of the same joke. For his story, he quoted UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor David Doll, who he called the "go-to guy" for all things almond in California.

“Farmers will often tell you, you call it an almond on the tree and an am-end on the ground because you shake the l out of it,” Doll told him.

But in terms of the true rational, Doll couldn't provide a definitive answer.

"People who refer to it as am-end tend to be longer-term farmers, so they've been farming for multiple generations,” Doll said.

A UC Davis plant breeder was able to offer a plausible explanation.

When almonds were first introduced by Spanish missionaries, almendras (pronounced with the l) did not succeed. Later immigrants from France and Portugal, who pronounced the nut amandola and amande respectively, brought the crop to Central California. 

"Somewhere along the line the use of am-end stuck in Northern California, while the Spanish-inspired noun grew popular elsewhere," Romero reported.

Posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 11:12 AM
Tags: almond (3), David Doll (26)

Almond prices dip as global demand plunges

Almonds in the California's Central Valley will soon bloom in preparation for pollination and production of the 2016 almond crop.
A surge in the price of almonds in 2014 has cut demand and resulted in a lower price for the 2015 California almond crop, reported Tom Philpott in Mother Jones.

Despite the state's four-year drought, almond production continued its steady rise over the last 15 years. The plunge in global demand may impact the trend, according to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension advisor David Doll. Last year Philpott asked Doll how long the almond boom would continue.

"He told me it would only stop 'when the crop stops making money,'" Philpott wrote.

Doll explained that, under normal water supply conditions, the break-even farmer price for almonds is $1.45 per pound. But when water is scarce and farmers pay more for water, the break-even price rises to $2.60 to $2.85 per pound. The Fresno Bee this month reported that almond prices dropped about 20 percent to $2.50 to $2.75 per pound.

Growers are hoping that El Niño will reduce water costs and that the Asian and European appetite for almonds returns to normal, pushing up the almonds' value once again.

Ezra David Romero of Valley Public Radio reported that the strength of the U.S. dollar also reduced buyer interest in California almonds.

"We probably pushed the price up too high," said Darren Rigg of Meridian Growers in Tulare, Calif. "It killed off demand, and people at a certain point, they just don't buy."

In the web version of Romero's story, he used a picture of UC ANR's David Doll in an almond orchard. 

Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 9:32 AM
Tags: almonds (60), David Doll (26)

UC IPM providing helpful information on chlorpyrifos situation

UC ANR workshops help farmers deal with pesticide regulations.
Farmers gathered at the UC Kearney Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Parlier yesterday to discuss potential action by the EPA on the insecticide chlorpyifos, reported Ezra David Romero on Valley Public Radio. The meeting was hosted by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Statewide Integrated Pest Management project (UC IPM).

Chlorpyrifos is widely applied to many crops for pest control; the highest percentage on almonds, citrus, alfalfa and cotton. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed cancellation of its use in agriculture.

"Chlorpyrifos is a tool and over reliance on that tool to help us solve pest problems is going to have environmental impacts and potentially could impact human populations as well," said UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor David Doll in the Valley Public Radio story.

Romero also spoke to Selma almond grower Bill Chandler at the meeting.

"Don't give up the ship, there's help," Chandler said. "That's why they (UC IPM) had this meeting to say, listen gentlemen, there's these problems. Let's learn how to work with them and see what we can use differently."

More UC IPM meetings on the issue will be held in the coming weeks at the following locations:

Jan. 12 – Citrus in San Joaquin Valley
8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
UC ANR Cooperative Extension office, 4437 S. Laspina St., Tulare

Jan. 21 – Alfalfa in Imperial Valley
8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Farm Credit Services Southwest, 485 Business Parkway, Imperial

Jan. 26 – Almonds in Southern San Joaquin Valley
8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Kern County Agricultural Pavilion
3300 E. Belle Terrace, Bakersfield

Feb. 5 – Almonds in Northern California
8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m
Chico Masonic Lodge, 1110 W. East Ave., Chico

For more information contact Lori Berger, UC IPM chlorpyrifos project coordinator, at or (559) 646-6523.

Posted on Friday, January 8, 2016 at 10:06 AM
Tags: chlorpyrifos (4), David Doll (26), UC IPM (40)

Farmers welcome cool San Joaquin Valley weather

Foggy weather keeps daytime temperatures down, which helps trees accumulate chill hours.
When the National Weather Service announced that December 2015 temperatures were as chilly as "normal," farmers cheered. Many fruit and nut trees require cool weather to reset their biological clocks and ensure a healthy crop, reported Robert Rodriguez in the Fresno Bee.

Chill requirements vary by crop and variety. Some cherries, apricots, peaches and pistachios requiring a significant accumulation of cold weather to rest and then start growing again when the temperatures warm. For example, without a cold winter, pistachio trees get confused at the beginning of spring. 

"It is like the female flowers were ready to party, but the male flowers weren't around," said UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisor David Doll.

If male trees bloom late, the female trees won't be fertilized, and shells may come up empty.

Winter chill for 2015-16 is off to a good start, and farmers are hoping the trend will continue.

"January is the biggest chill month," Doll said.

Farmer Raj Iyer told Rodriguez that last year January temperatures in the 70s were part of a weather trend that cut his cherry crop in half.

"We have had a normal weather pattern since November, so hopefully we will be back on track to producing a nice cherry crop," Iyer said.

Posted on Monday, January 4, 2016 at 10:12 AM
Tags: David Doll (26), winter chill (1)

California almonds have small carbon footprint compared to other protein foods

These almonds are still in the hull on the tree. Using the orchard biomass, hulls and shells for renewable power generation, soil amendment and dairy feed reduces the carbon footprint.
California produces more than 80 percent of the world's commercial almonds. Popularity of the nuts has spurred almond acreage in the state to expand from 510,000 acres in 2000 to roughly 890,000 acres in 2015, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires statewide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the growing interest among consumers and food companies in the carbon footprint of food products, prompted some University of California scientists to examine how almond production affects the environment.

Research by UC Davis and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists found that almonds have a relatively small carbon footprint, which could be further reduced with advanced management practices.

Two related articles published in the current issue of Journal of Industrial Ecology examine the environmental impact of this agricultural industry. Co-author Alissa Kendall, an associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and her colleagues noted that certain practices substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, including the strategic use of co-products, and the choice of water source and irrigation technology.

"Our research shows that 1 kilogram of California almonds typically produces less than 1 kilogram of CO2-equivalent emissions, which is a lower carbon footprint than many other nutrient- and energy-dense foods," said Kendall.

“These results include the use of almond co-products — orchard biomass, hulls and shells — for renewable power generation and dairy feed,” said Kendall. “Under ideal circumstances, which are feasible but not in place today, California almonds could become carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative, largely through the improved utilization of orchard biomass."

David Doll, UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor in Merced County, agrees.

“As California farmers improve their nitrogen and water use efficiencies, they will reduce the carbon footprint,” Doll said. “This will happen as we continue to transition into a nitrogen budgeting system, which will reduce over-applications of nitrogen. Furthermore, on the other end, research conducted by Cooperative Extension has shown that the entire biomass of an orchard can be incorporated back into the soil, which increases the amount of total carbon sequestered.”

“Only a full life cycle-based model like the one we developed for this research will allow us to accurately assess whether incorporating the biomass into the soil or using it for power generation instead results in a lower net carbon footprint,” said Sonja Brodt, academic coordinator in the UC ANR Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, noting that there will be some trade-off.

The first article, "Life Cycle-based Assessment of Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Almond Production, Part I: Analytical Framework and Baseline Results," is authored by Kendall, Elias Marvinney, a graduate student in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences; Brodt and Weiyuan Zhu, a UC Davis graduate student in horticulture and agronomy.

Marvinney is lead author of the second article, "Life Cycle-based Assessment of Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Almond Production, Part II: Uncertainty Analysis through Sensitivity Analysis and Scenario Testing," in collaboration with Kendall and Brodt.

This research was supported by grants from the Almond Board of California and the CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Brodt and Marvinney will host a webinar to discuss their life cycle assessment analyzing the environmental impacts associated with walnuts, prunes, peaches, almonds and pistachios. The researchers are quantifying energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in orchard crop production both within and beyond the farm. To join the webinar, visit at noon on Wednesday, July 29.

The University of California Global Food Initiative aims to put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself. By building on existing efforts and creating new collaborations among UC's 10 campuses, affiliated national laboratories and the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the initiative will develop and export solutions for food security, health and sustainability throughout California, the United States and the world.

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 10:02 AM

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