Good Fruit Grower

July 1

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30 JULY 2015 GOOD FRUIT GROWER LAST BITE More Young Growers at Daniel Bays grower / Westley, California age / 28 crops / Apricots, walnuts, almonds and other diversifi ed row crops. business / Bays Ranch, Inc. family background / Fifth generation farmer, part owner with his father Ken Bays, grandfather Gene Bays. PLAY scan to watch the interview " " " How did you become a farmer? I grew up in the family farm. I just enjoyed being outdoors. I liked the variety, challenges, and projects that came along with it. I learned how to be an electrician, how to work in the shop, how to do books in the offi ce, how to be an agronomist, how to check the fi elds and learn what to do. We grow about 700 acres of apricots of the Patterson variety. The majority of them go toward processing, frozen, canned, dried, and juiced. Our harvest period goes from mid-June through early July, and it's all hand picked. What challenges does your farm face? In California we're faced with all sorts of regulations and pests, especially the last few years with the warmer than normal winters. Another challenge that's come along with this year's drought is not just the quantity of the water, but the quality. Using well water and the lower quality water coming out of the rivers, we've had to be more proactive with our soil amendments and fertilizers to try keeping the trees as healthy as possible. We don't want to reach toxic levels with our micronutrients because of what's naturally occurring in our groundwater. How does your farm deal with water shortages? In some of our fi elds our water has been zero, and we don't have the water there for it. Thankfully our irrigation districts have been pretty good, and even our neighbors, about getting creative dealing with the water issues, from sharing pipelines, being able to pump from one canal and put it in another. Last year we took out 45 acres after harvest to stretch that water supply for the rest of the orchard. It was an older orchard with some disease problems, and we fi gured it would be a good opportunity to also give that ground a rest for a year or two. There's other pieces where water is tight and the trees are in better shape where we've taken a defi cit irrigation strategy. Where normally we might be putting an inch on every week or every couple days—then we cut it down to three quarters of an inch. It stresses the trees a little bit more and you don't have the crop load or the bud set for next year. But at least we're keep- ing that orchard alive. by TJ Mullinax More from this interview and other Young Growers at " I enjoy that I'm not doing the same thing day-in, day-out. SPONSORED BY

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