Genzoli’s great-grandfathers on both sides of his family immigrated to the area: one from Italy via Switzerland and the other from the Azores in Portugal. They both started with small dairies in the late 1800s and converted to permanent plantings, including almonds.

Sustainability is an integral part of Genzoli’s pest management and other production practices, which basically involve looking at the big picture and broader impacts of every decision he makes in the orchard, he said.

In addition to practicing timely winter sanitation, Genzoli determines pest management treatment and timing through regular scouting and monitoring reports from his PCA. He is careful to calibrate, operate and maintain spray rigs to minimize drift and get the most efficacious and efficient spray application possible, he said.

These practices are also in line with the majority of California almond growers. Thanks to increased participation last year, the Almond Board of California is now able to say, with 95 percent confidence, that results from the CASP assessments are representative of what almond growers in general are doing across the state.

In the area of pest management, for instance, growers on a majority of orchards rely on pest monitoring and record keeping for pest management decisions. Ninety-two percent of orchards are regularly monitored. And growers for a majority of orchards count and remove mummy nuts in the winter, and make necessary hullsplit sprays on the basis of egg-trap counts and degree days.

Most growers also practice timely calibration of spray equipment and adjust spray patterns based on average tree size and shape, and discontinue sprays during row turns and near sensitive sites.

Genzoli says it is clear most growers use sustainable pest management practices. The next step is to get the information gathered through CASP to provide real data to back up those sustainability claims.

He says new online modules, which allow him to “clone” relevant information from orchards and production practices, have significantly reduced the time required to participate in the program.

“It probably takes two to three hours to initially complete the assessment, but then once it’s done, it takes only a few minutes to update the module each year, and click and transfer information between orchards,” states Genzoli.

Genzoli also appreciates that the online modules allow him to fill out some of the assessment at his convenience, and come back later and pick up right where he left off.

“You can do it five minutes a day or 10 minutes a day,” he said. “I mean, how can you not spend five minutes a day for the good of the entire almond industry? That’s what it’s all about — a proactive program to gather statistics about what almond growers are actually doing so we have the numbers to back up what we are saying. And the more we do it, the more we get numbers that are meaningful.”

Fill out self-assessments at SustainableAlmondGrowing.org. For a username, contact Kendall Barton by email or phone at (209) 343-3245. If you prefer to attend a workshop to fill out assessments, the next one will be held April 11 in Ballico. RSVP for this workshop to Kendall Barton.

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