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Research and IPM

Almond Production in California: A Study of Pest Management Practices, Issues, and Concerns

About this survey

Weed control for young almond trees.

UC Statewide IPM Program researchers surveyed California almond growers in 2000 to learn more about their specific pest management practices and pest management decision making in almond production for the 1999 growing season.

The researchers sought to establish baseline data on the use of specific IPM practices in the context of overall pest management decision-making in almond production. The California Almond Pest Management Alliance (PMA) supported the project to learn more about almond grower practices.

Who was surveyed?

The project team selected 10 counties with the highest proportion of almond acreage: Butte, Colusa, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare. All are in California’s major production regions: the central and southern San Joaquin Valley, the northern San Joaquin Valley, and the Sacramento Valley. The team then identified 4408 individual growers for the 1998 field season across the three regions.

The project team primarily sought to study pest management among farmers with more than a part-time interest in growing almonds. The project team defined this group as any farm with more than 20 acres of almonds. The results presented on these pages represent almond growers with more than 20 acres of almonds.

(Note: So as not to exclude farms with smaller almond acreage, the project team surveyed a sub-sample of farms with 20 acres or less.)

California counties in the survey
Map of 10 counties in almond survey
1 Glenn Sacramento Valley
2 Butte
3 Colusa
4 San Joaquin Northern San Joaquin Valley
5 Stanislaus
6 Merced
7 Madera Central and southern San Joaquin Valley
8 Fresno
9 Tulare
10 Kern


Due to questionnaire length limitations, the project team used two different versions of the questionnaire. Sample units were randomly assigned to receive one of the two questionnaire versions. One version asked about practices related to insects and mite pests, and the other asked about disease, nematode, and weed management practices. Both questionnaire versions included identical questions on pest management decision making, familiarity with and attitudes about IPM, and general farm characteristics.

Survey method

The survey methods for data collection included use of personalized, first-class postal mailings and a sequence of three follow-up reminders.


A 39% completion rate was obtained (calculated as the number of completed surveys/number of eligible sample units*100). A total of 320 completed questionnaires were returned, yielding a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The returns included 168 insect and mite questionnaires and 152 disease, nematode, and weed questionnaires.

Summary of questionnaire responses:


Results are summarized in the following articles:


UC Statewide IPM Program conducted the survey in collaboration with the California Almond Pest Management Alliance (PMA), comprised of UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisors, Almond Board of California, California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), Almond Hullers and Processors Association, and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF).

Supporting the work: the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under special project Section 3(d), Integrated Pest Management; and the Almond Board of California.

Project leaders were:

  • Frank Zalom, then director of the UC IPM Program and now with the Department of Entomology, UC Davis
  • Sonja Brodt, formerly with the UC IPM Program
  • Rose Krebill-Prather, then with the UC IPM Program and now with the Social and Economic Science Research Center, Washington State University, Pullman

Contributors included:

  • Pete Goodell, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
  • Walt Bentley, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
  • Carolyn Pickel, UC IPM Program, Sutter/Yuba counties
  • Joseph Connell, UC Cooperative Extension, Butte County
  • Larry Wilhoit, California Department of Pesticide Regulation
  • Chris Heintz, Almond Board of California
  • Marsha Gibb, Community Alliance with Family Farmers
  • Gene Beach, Almond Hullers and Processors Association

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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