Almond Update: Looking to the Future with Biologicals

Brian GermanAlmond Update, Almonds, News from our Sponsors

Biologicals represent a significant amount of potential for farmers moving forward. Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer for the Almond Board of California (ABC), Josette Lewis highlighted some of ABC’s efforts related to biological options during the 2024 Salinas Biological Summit. Part of ABC’s participation in the summit was to highlight the value of California almonds to an international crowd of product developers.


“It’s a chance to really get the attention of not just the big companies that we all know, the Bayer Crop Sciences, the Corteva’s of this world, but also these more entrepreneurial startups,” Lewis explained. “To really elevate the visibility of how big a crop almonds is and that that’s an opportunity for technology developers. We want to make sure they think that because we don’t compare to corn and soybean and some of the broad acre crops.”

In looking to the future and where regulation is trending, biologicals represent an important component of navigating evolving requirements. Maximum residue levels in European markets, combined with increasing regulatory pressure in California create an area of opportunity for biologicals.  Lewis said ABC has been involved with several research efforts to look at the potential of different biological options. “By doing that third-party evaluation, we hope to give both growers and PCAs some information they can trust over multiple years, that’s statistically sound and collected by an unbiased partner,” Lewis explained.

Biologicals on their own will not be a silver bullet fix to production challenges. However, they will likely have an important role as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. Working to understand where biological options may fit into a systems approach is one of ABC’s research priorities.

“The focus is on if they work, and then how do they work within a conventional IPM system. Do they add some early season protection or suppression that allows us to be more effective with fewer sprays later in the season?” said Lewis. “Those are the types of things that we hope to discover through this evaluation program and from hearing from our peers here at this conference.”

Listen to the interview below.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West