“Managing Key Insect and Mite Pests in California Almond Orchards” is the title of the newest online continuing education available on the Western Farm Press Web site (www.westernfarmpress.com).

Sponsored online by Chemtura Corp., the free course is accredited for 2 hours by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for all licensed Pest Control Advisers, Private Applicators, Qualified Applicators and Aerial Applicators. It is also accredited for 2 units for California Certified Crop Advisers.

“Almonds are one of California's most important crops,” says Neil Budge, western district sales manager, Chemtura Corp. “Almonds are generating unprecedented income for producers due to growing demand for California almonds. Sponsoring this online course is one way Chemtura recognizes the value of almonds to the state and the nation as well as the importance of protecting this valuable asset.”

“The almond pest management course provides thorough information on managing all insect pests and mites,” points out Mike Dupré, Chemtura marketing manager for edible crop products.

“Chemtura offers several outstanding crop protection chemicals to combat pests like peach twig borer (PTB) and spider mites. However, it is important to note that the accredited online course provides information on monitoring and control of all major almond pests and most of the minor ones. We believe it is an excellent information resource for PCAs, qualified applicators, private applicators and growers that also provides continuing education hours,” adds Dupré.

Course developers

The course was developed by the Western Farm Press editorial staff using key University of California resources and specialists, particularly Walt Bentley, UC integrated pest management specialist based at the UC Kearney Ag Center, Parlier, Calif. Bentley reviewed all material provided in the course.

The course features a series of informational text followed by groups of questions. There are 29 questions in the course. Answer all the questions correctly, and a DPR licensee or private applicator county permit holder will receive two credit units.

Western Farm Press submits all the necessary paperwork to DPR or individual counties for credit.

“We have appreciated working with the University of California and Dr. Bentley in developing this online course on the Western Farm Press Web site,” said Western Farm Press Publisher, Greg Frey.

“Sponsorship of the online course reflects a commitment by Chemtura to support the California almond industry. The partnership between Western Farm Press and Chemtura in developing this educational module has been very gratifying,” added Frey.

There are 550,000 acres of bearing almond orchards in California.

First in exports

Almonds are California's No. 1 agricultural export, valued at $1.08 billion (2003) and are the United States' No. 1 horticultural export as well. For three consecutive years, 2002 to 2004, California almond growers produced crops of more than 1 billion pounds annually with a crop value of $2.2 billion in 2004. While the 2005 crop fell below 1 billion pounds due to weather problems, its value likely will exceed the record crop value of '04. California almonds now rank No. 4 among all California ag products, behind dairy, grapes and nursery products. Bearing acreage could reach 730,000 acres by 2010, one third more bearing acreage than today. The 2010 crop could easily total 1.5-billion pounds.

This new CEU course on almond pest management is the fifth offered on the Western Farm Press Web site. Its two hours of credit brings the total to 11 DPR-approved hours available online free through the five courses which are also available on the Farm Press University Web site (www.farmpressuniversity.com).

Farm Press also offers courses to licensed consultants and applicators in Texas and Oklahoma as well as a course offered nationwide to certified crop advisers via all Prism Business Media agricultural publications.

More than 3,700 courses have been completed through this educational division of Prism Business Media.

e-mail: hcline@prismb2b.com