Effectively managing diseases in California almonds is a challenge every year.

Fortunately, University of California plant pathologists and other researchers have generated volumes of research information to help pest control advisers (PCAs) and producers protect almonds against yield-robbing diseases from bloom to hull split.

Much of this information is contained in an online continuing education course developed by Farm Press/Penton Media and available online free at westernfarmpress.com or pentonag.com.

The course has recently been updated and a new sponsor has signed on to support it. BASF is now the sponsor, allowing California PCAs, licensed applicators and county pesticide permit holders to earn 2 hours of continuing education credit at no cost.

“If you have not taken this almond disease management CEU this year for credit, now would be a good time to check it out. We have worked with the Almond Board of California and UC researchers to update the information,” said Greg Frey, Western Farm Press publisher and Penton vice president.

The course covers everything from branch and root diseases to vascular disorders — and the latest disease management practices that can protect valuable orchards and crops.

There is a new section on insect pests and the diseases they cause.

The course is available free 24/7 at  westernfarmpress.com and pentonag.com.

California DPR accreditation covers all licensing categories, including Pest Control Advisers, Qualified Applicators, County Private Applicators/Permit Holders and Aerial Applicators.

“We appreciate the support of Larry Wanken, district manager for BASF in California, as well as Bill Nairn in bringing in BASF as a sponsor,” says Frey.

“PCAs and qualified applicators are the key licensed professionals who make diversified agriculture in California so successful,” says Wanken. “BASF is pleased to sponsor this almond disease management to help growers and their consultants do the best job possible in controlling diseases and protecting their almond crops.”

“We know everyone is busy and we hope this course will provide not only valuable weed management information, but timesaving, easy access to continuing education credit required by the state of California.”

“We offer Pristine fungicide for this market as an integral part of not only an effective almond disease management program, but an important element in the very critical area of resistance management,” says Bill Nairn, a BASF field rep and a long-time California PCA.

“The Almond Board of California is constantly pursuing answers to growers’ disease challenges, which is why we continually fund research projects. The updated online CEU course on disease management in California almonds presented by Western Farm Press with the financial support of BASF and in cooperation with ABC is an excellent way to keep up with new discoveries that come out of this research, while at the same time earning credits towards your permit or license,” said Bob Curtis, ABC associate director, agricultural affairs.

After logging into the course at either of the two Web sites, users review the information and then take a quiz. A score of at least 80 is required to earn credit hours.

There is a feature that allows a licensed professional to download the course and quiz for review offline — however, the test must be taken online in order to earn credit.

Farm Press/Penton Media will notify the accrediting state agencies or CCA administrators of each person who successfully passes the course.

Farm Press has been offering online courses for six years, and 22 courses are now available online.

To date, more than 30,000 courses have been completed for credit.