Almond Update: Mating Disruption Success Story in Latest Almond Journey Podcast

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The latest episode of the Almond Journey podcast from the Almond Board of California (ABC) features one grower’s success story with mating disruption. In the episode, fourth-generation farmer Leon Etchepare talks about his experience in addressing navel orangeworm (NOW) issues in the orchard. Etchepare is a partner in Emerald Farms, consisting of about 5,000 acres of almonds and walnuts in Maxwell, California. ABC Senior Specialist of Industry Communications, Taylor Hillman summarized some of Etchepare’s positive experiences with mating disruption.

mating disruption

“He started out small and was really impressed. I think he started out on 200 acres – doubled it the next year to 400 acres – and he said it eliminated sprays,” Hillman noted. “Now, he did have real issues with navel orangeworm. I think he averaged somewhere around eight percent damage from navel orangeworm, with the extreme areas being 12 percent.”

Etchepare had indicated that if the mating disruption was able to reduce sprays by 20 percent, it would be a success. However, after implementing the approach in the orchard it cut the number of sprays required in half. After averaging eight percent damage from NOW, that average has dropped to .5 percent with the mating disruption. Etchepare described the practice as a “no-brainer” as the improved pest management efficacy and yield worked out economically.

“He talked about the price of mating disruption and as more technologies come out, more options come out in the realm of mating disruption for navel orangeworm, the cost has actually come down a little bit. But the cost of making sprays, labor, diesel, all that stuff continues to go up,” Hillman noted. “So, if you looked at mating disruption three years ago, your input costs have gone up, but your mating disruption costs probably have gone down slightly.”

You can find the latest episodes by searching “Almond Journey” wherever you get your podcasts and online at

Listen to Hillman’s full interview below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West