Written by The Business Journal Staff
Pistachios growers gathered in Visalia recently to look forward to the 2016 crop year.
Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachios Research Board, is estimating a potential record crop of 700 million pounds, given the improvement this winter in chill hours and the fact that it is a “on-year” for this alternate-bearing crop.
The production record stands now at 550 million pounds. By contrast, 2015 was a “disastrous crop year,” said Klein, with just 270 million pounds harvested.
Plaguing farmers was a high incidence of blanks — empty shell nuts likely caused by too few chill hours. “Even this year we don’t have the number of chill hours we would like to see,” he added.
Another blow in 2015 was the issue of “bushy top” pistachio trees, with some 25,000 acres planted in the Central Valley that had to be pulled due to the disease.
Friant contractors ready to give water to Fresno’s ‘New Town’
Negotiations that were held a decade ago will mean three Friant ag districts will give up future water they would use for farming to provide water to Millerton New Town in Fresno County, a proposed city of 10,000.
Indeed the districts offering long-term water include Lower Tule Irrigation District and Terra Bella Irrigation District, each of who saw virtually no water delivered to their farmers for the past two years.
Tulare ID manager Dan Vink acknowledged the agreement, entered into many years back, dates from “another era,” but says that the water amounts are small and would basically “backstop” Arvin Edison, who would be giving up water before the other two Tulare districts would have to start. Payments to the district would allow the Tulare districts ”other options,” Vink added.