Volume 28 | Issue 2 | January 27, 2012
The Greensheet is CAC's bi-monthly industry newsletter, designed to provide California Avocado Industry members with timely and valuable news and information, regarding meetings, industry issues, cultural management/best practices, production research, CAC's marketing program, commission operations and more.
In This Issue You'll Find:
Cultural Tip: Assessing Your Trees This Winter
Commission News: Board Vacancies, Meetings in the Field, From the Grove
Central Coast Water Board Holds Public Meeting on Ag Waiver
LBAM Quarantines Declared in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties
California Ag License Plate Deadline is Drawing Near
San Diego County Agricultural Crime Update
Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District Provides Resources to SLO Area Growers
2011 California Avocado Ads Rank Highly, Sunset Reports
Fall 2011 California Avocado Tracking Study Part Four: Avocado Consumption Increased Over Time
California Avocado Commission November Meeting Schedule
For a listing of industry events and dates for the coming year, please visit:
CAS Grower Seminars – February 7 (SLO), 8 (Ventura), 9 (Temecula), 2012 - Winter Irrigation and Water Use in San Luis Obispo & Other Avocado Varieties and Their Feasibilities in Ventura & Temecula
- San Luis Obispo: Tuesday, February 7, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Cooperative Extension County Office/Auditorium, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo
- Ventura: Wednesday, February 8, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Ventura Government Center/Lower Plaza Assembly Room, 800 South Victoria Ave., Ventura
- Temecula: February 9, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Temecula Community Recreation Center, 30875 Rancho Vista Road, Temecula
For a complete listing of the 2011-12 CAS Grower Seminars, here is the current schedule provided by CAS.
CAC-GAP Grower Education Seminars – February 21-23, 2012 – Join the Commission for an introduction to the CAC-GAP program including information on the Food Safety Modernization Act, USDA’s GAP audit process, an overview of the CAC-GAP Manual and tools available to assist growers in obtaining certification, including a pre-audit checklist. Workshops are open to all growers and their employees with simultaneous Spanish translation provided. Details of the meeting dates, times and locations are as follows:
- Fallbrook: Tuesday, February 21, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Pala Mesa Resort, 2001 Old Highway 395, Fallbrook, CA 92028
- Santa Paula: Wednesday, February 22, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Santa Paula Community Center, 530 West Main Street, Santa Paula, CA 93060
- San Luis Obispo: Thursday, February 23, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
San Luis Obispo Library Community Room, 995 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
CAC Board Meeting – Thursday, March 15, 2012 – Time TBD at Springhill Suites Temecula, 28220 Jefferson Ave., Temecula, CA 92590
HAB Board Meeting – Thursday, March 22, 2012 – Time TBD at HAB office, 230 Commerce, Suite 190, Irvine, CA 92602
Cultural Tip: Assessing Your Trees This Winter
The weather plays a very significant role in the life of avocado trees. As an evergreen subtropical, the avocado tree has the capacity to grow and develop all year round if the weather does not get too cold. In parts of Mexico, where the climate is relatively even throughout the year, avocado trees have been reported to flush four to five times annually. This does not happen so much in California as there is usually a cool period in winter where the trees appear to go quiescent. That the trees are not really dormant can be seen from what happens when the weather becomes more erratic than usual. This year there have been some very warm periods in between cool periods and avocado trees seem to respond to these periods of unseasonal weather by doing what they would in the season when the weather is warmer. That is, the trees decide it is time to do some flowering and sometimes start growing a new flush. Generally, the winter flowering or "flora loca," only involves a minor amount of the total potential flower numbers on a tree and so does not have a lot of effect on the main spring flower numbers. On rare occasions, when the conditions are right, it is possible for a considerable amount of fruit set to occur. In cool growing areas the shape of Hass flora loca fruit is spherical rather than pear shaped. This makes the fruit easy to identify at harvest as having been set over the winter. Many experienced growers look forward to having some winter fruit set as these avocados are usually considered to have good flavor and are preferred for the grower’s own table.
When Hass trees that are exposed to favorable weather conditions have a lot of winter flowering, it can suggest that the trees are very well set up for flowering and fruit set in spring. The most winter flowering tends to occur on trees that are carrying a light crop relative to the crop load and the health of the tree. When winter flowering is absent, or very light, this can suggest that the trees are not well set up for flowering and fruit set in spring. Very often trees displaying little winter flowering have a heavy crop load or have been exhausted by a recent heavy crop. An objective of the cultural management applied to the trees before winter should be to set the trees up for the best flowering and fruit set. As a grower, assessing your trees in winter for their canopy health and for the amount of winter flowering can be a useful guide to how well resourced the trees are for spring and how successful the management of those trees has been.
- District 1 & District 5 Alternate Member Vacancies: CAC is scheduled to fill alternate producer seats for Districts 1 and 5 at its March 15, 2012 Board meeting. Interested parties should complete and return the application form to the Commission (via e-mail, mail or fax). To download the form and/or for further detail, please visit the Grower website here: http://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/commission-news or contact April Aymami at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CAC Takes its Board Meetings to the Field: As mentioned in district grower meetings last year, CAC management suggested to the board of directors, holding board meetings in the Northern and Southern growing regions to allow easier grower access to attend Commission Board meetings. In November 2011 the Board approved holding one board meeting in the South and one in the North. That being said, the next regularly scheduled board meeting of the Commission will be held in Temecula at the Springhill Suites on March 15, 2012, while the May 17, 2012 meeting will be held in Ventura at the Four Points by Sheraton. Growers interested in observing the Board in action are welcomed to attend either of these two meetings out in the field, or any of the meetings which occur at the CAC office in Irvine, CA. For further information regarding upcoming meetings, please visit: http://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/upcoming-meetings-events/.
- From the Grove: The Winter 2011 issue of CAC’s California avocado industry magazine, From the Grove, was distributed in December 2011. This second issue of the quarterly publication features the newly seated CAC board of directors, with an article from newly appointed CAC Chair Ed McFadden; CAC-GAP manual progress; feature articles on Social Media and Foodservice programs and much, much more!
While printed copies of the magazine are shipped to all California growers on record with the Commission, it is available for all to view online at http://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/from-the-grove/. If you are a California grower and did not receive your copy, please contact April Aymami at email@example.com to be added to the mailing list.
It’s been a bit quiet the past few months with regards to the Central Coast Ag Waiver, however on January 9, 2012 the Water Board issued a notice that it will hold a public workshop in Salinas on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 regarding the Draft Agricultural Order. Following the request of interested parties, the Water Board scheduled the workshop to provide the newly appointed Board members with the opportunity to be more familiar and to hear public comments on the proposed Draft Order.
The staff report for this workshop indicates that it is scheduled to last three hours during which they will provide a brief overview of the current status of the order and overall proceedings to date. It is noted that while public comments will be heard during the workshop, the written record on this issue is now closed and therefore no additional written comments will be accepted into the record. The Water Board is scheduled to consider adoption of an Agricultural Order at its regularly scheduled meeting on March 15, 2012.
The agenda for the Central Coast Water Board February 1, 2012 meeting can be found here: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/board_info/agendas/2012/feb/febagenda.shtml.
Earlier this week CDFA contacted the Commission regarding the recent findings of Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) in avocado growing regions, triggering quarantines in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Currently State Interior Quarantine boundaries are being established which will extend 1.5 miles from the find sites. However, once the state quarantine is declared, a federal quarantine will be set, with the possibility of a full-county quarantine. While the timing of these events remain unknown, John Blasius with the CDFA will be participating in the upcoming CAS Grower Seminars in SLO (February 7) and Ventura (February 8) to address quarantine agreement requirements, quarantine areas, inspection requirements, trapping requirements, certification requirements (use of Federal Shield), treatment requirements for positive finds, as well as a general Q & A session. In the meantime, growers within the Santa Barbara and Ventura county lines can review the CDFA LBAM Fact Sheet for more info regarding quarantine DOs and DON’Ts. Additional LBAM resources may also be found at the following sites:
- California Department of Food & Agriculture - http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/pdep/lbam/lbam_main.html
- U.S. Department of Agriculture - http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/lba_moth/index.shtml
- UC Davis - http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PDF/PUBS/lbam091207.pdf
With an April 1, 2012 deadline in the not so distant future, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is still working towards reaching the 7,500 pledge commitments required for the Department of Motor Vehicles to begin issuing the Cal Ag special interest license plate. Proceeds from plate purchases directly support youth agricultural programs. If you’re interested in learning more about the Cal Ag Plate please check out these frequently asked questions. Of if you’re ready to sign-up and reserve your plate today, visit https://secure.cdfa.ca.gov/egov/calagplate/.
As we enter into the California avocado season, it is important to remember that prevention is the best form of defense against agricultural theft. In November 2011 CAC sponsored an agriculture and crime prevention training for San Diego County Sherriff command staff, law enforcement and crime prevention personnel. A letter received from Patricia Duke, SD County Assistant Sherriff, stated that while this training provided much needed tools to resolve local SD County ag crime issues, they are encouraged that CAC is considering using this training model in additional avocado growing regions in an effort to diminish ag crime throughout the state.
An important tool for growers in crime prevention is being as up to date as possible about the theft occurring in your own backyard. The San Diego County Sherriff’s department has provided CAC with the most recent agricultural crimes reported over the past month. As you can see, of the eight incidents reported, half of them were for theft of avocados. Now is the time to assess the security of your grove and implement prevention measures to protect your crop. If you experience a theft on your property, be sure to report it to your local law enforcement agency or through CAC’s avocado theft hotline either by email at AvoTheft@avocado.org, or by calling (949) 754-0733.
For further information on theft prevention tips, please visit http://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/avocado-theft-prevention/.
There are numerous ways to be a good creek steward and protect the environment. It can be fun and community oriented. It can also be difficult, time consuming or expensive, but there are resources available to help you along the way.
The Advisory Committee for the County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Zone 9 has contracted with the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District to provide free technical assistance to creek-adjacent landowners in the San Luis Obispo watershed.
Types of creek-related concerns with which the RCD can provide assistance include:
- Debris build-up – Is that pile of limbs in or near the creek a healthy amount of woody debris, or a potential flood hazard?
- Thick vegetation – Should creek vegetation be trimmed to reduce the flood hazard to your property?
- Streambank and road erosion – Is the creek cutting excessively into one of its banks? Are banks unstable or exposed to erosion?
- Permits - Are any permits required to do the needed work in the creek or on the banks? How can permits be obtained?
- Costs – What is the estimated cost for needed work?
Contact RCD at (805) 772-4391, or firstname.lastname@example.org
As an advertiser in Sunset magazine, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) is given access to advertising insights (a data report with advertisement performance) on magazine issues that feature CAC advertisements. The results are in for the 2011 Sunset magazine ads, and CAC ads fared well above industry norms for ads appearing in the June and July issues of Sunset magazine.
June 2011 Advertisement: Dorcus McFarlane
Starch Research, the world’s leading ad measurement service, indicates that in the June 2011 Sunset magazine issue, there were 38 different advertisers, with 15 advertisements scoring above average. California avocados ranked as #2 for advertisement recall and was ranked #1 for any action taken for the print advertisement “Dorcus McFarlane.”
Advertisement recall can be defined as being memorable, and that the ad is remembered after reading the magazine; while action taken refers to taking an action as a result of the ad. Examples of action taken include: having a more favorable opinion about the advertiser/product, visiting the advertiser’s website, looking for more information about the product/service or recommending the product or service.
July 2011 Advertisement: Alex MacLachlan
In the July Sunset magazine issue, there were 23 different advertisers with six advertisements scoring above average. California avocado ads ranked #1 for advertisement recall and action taken amongst these six.
The California avocado grower campaign with Hand Grown in California thematic continues to evolve since its inception in 2008, and the evolution of the California avocado brand will continue in 2012 with several new ads and exciting programs already in the works. Stay tuned to future editions of the Greensheet for updates on the 2012 campaign.
The results are in for the 2011 Avocado Tracking Study which monitors consumer insights into avocado advertising in both core and new demand markets throughout the United States. In this issue we’ll review the section addressing avocado consumption.
For more information and background on the study, please click here.
According to study findings, a large proportion of households in the Ad Markets have purchased avocados for home consumption (approximately 86 percent versus 63 percent in the Remaining U.S.). Likewise, the mean number of avocados purchased in the past year is significantly higher in the Ad Markets compared to the remaining U.S. by almost 15 avocados per year:
In fact, the study reports that Ad Markets have almost twice as many super avocado users (those who consume over 120 avocados per year) than the Remaining U.S. The results state that 68 percent of California consumers are heavy/super users, as seen in the chart below by combining the heavy/super users in the California segment:
Of those interviewed in both Ad Markets and the Remaining U.S., about one-quarter claim to be eating avocados more often versus last year with cross-seasonal use of avocados relatively similar across all markets, which peak in the spring through fall months.
Check back for the next edition of the tracking study, where we will cover avocado price trends. Or, view the tracking study in its entirety right now by clicking here.
To view all market trend graphs, including “Avocado Volume Summary,” “Weekly Price Range” and “U.S. Avocado Supply,” please visit: http://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/market-information/.
In the In the Near Term – through February 7... We will transition into a drier period with the storm track migrating to the north from the 26th to the 30th. A front will move through northern California on the 31st, with only a few showers. Dry, warm upper high pressure will return on February 1, while a trough deepens over the Rockies and Great Plains. Most important at this time is that we no longer see an indication of an arctic north wind event through California from January 31 to February 2. Instead, dry, warm upper high pressure will develop with offshore flow. A deep low will develop over the Great Lakes, while stagnant upper high pressure becomes entrenched over California on February 2 and 3. A trough coming through on the 4th appears to be weak with minimal or no precipitation, followed by a Santa Ana in southern California on the 5th, and offshore flow over all of California on the 6th. Freezes are possible in valley areas even if foothills are warm. Other dates of freeze risk would be from the 28th to the 31st. A north wind event is indicated in northern and central California on 27th.
In the Near Term - Central and North Sierra Nevadas… A dry period is indicated from the 25th to the 7th. The only snow or rain may be on the 30th and 31st. A dry period with some periods of downslope wind is expected from the 1st to the 6th, with some mild conditions for early February. We can expect some snowmelt during this period. The next chance for rain would be on February 8.
In the Near-Term - Southern California Avocado Region... Offshore flow will return as the next dry cycle starts on the 25th and continues through at least February 7. Santa Ana or offshore wind events may occur on the 25th to 27th, February 1 to 3, and February 5 and 6. A southern storm track will try to redevelop starting on about the 7th.
February 8 to 22… After the dry cycle that concludes on February 7 or 8, we can expect a return of more seasonably typical westerly flow conditions with fronts and Pacific storms moving into central and northern California during this middle part of February. Some rains from these fronts can be expected to reach into southern California. The next period of robust troughing over California would be from February 8 to 20. It appears that this will begin with a mild, moist pattern that will evolve into a cold one with low snow levels probably from the 14th to 18th or so. Typically, as the storm period comes to a close and dry offshore flow starts to develop, we can expect the next period of freezes to occur from February 17 to 23. There is plenty of support in the sea surface temperature field for cold conditions from February 7 to 12.
February 8 to 22 in the Southern California Avocado Region... We expect showery or rainy conditions from the 8th to 18th. The period will start as mild and showery on about the 8th, then it will be rainy from the 10th to 14th. This will be followed by cold and showery conditions with low snow levels from the 14th to 16th. Beginning about 15th, we transition into another period of robust frost and freeze events although less severe than in January.
Seasonal Outlook/La Niña Update (February into May)… Support now is increasing in the sea surface temperature field for a robust western storm track across the mid north Pacific from the Aleutians to Oregon and Washington. Some of this storminess will drift occasionally into northern and central California with some heavy snow in the Sierra Nevadas. Support for above normal rainfall in northern California and the Sierras continues into April. The sea surface temperature anomaly pattern (SSTAs) across the mid latitude northeast Pacific continues to show better support for seasonable rainfall into central California during March and April. Warmer SSTAs are expected to arrive into southern California, and this favors a warmer but continuing dry pattern.
Southern California Avocado Region (February and May 2012)… The latest indicators still support a slightly below normal precipitation scenario for the southern California avocado regions. A cool and rainy pattern in March and April is possible given the current SSTA forcing mentioned above.
The bottom line is that despite the cautious optimism, continue to ensure that you are well prepared for frosts and freezes. This still appears to be a subnormal rainy season in southern California and for snow in the Sierra Nevadas.
...Alan Fox, Fox Weather LLC...