Irrigation Archives - West Coast Nut



‘Moonshot’ Effort Needed to Build Future Agricultural Water Supply

After decades of over-pumping groundwater, California faces declining aquifers and stark choices – a future so challenging that a collective “moonshot” effort is needed to preserve irrigation supplies and viable agriculture in many parts of the state. That message was the theme among experts participating in a panel at The Almond Conference 2019 focused on the state’s landmark 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA. SGMA requires many areas to balance supply and demand for groundwater, leaving local regions scrambling to develop plans to ration pumping while figuring out how to return more water to aquifers during times of plentiful rain. Jesse Roseman, principal analyst for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs at the Almond Board of California (ABC), led the panel. Roseman said ABC conducts research, education and outreach to help almond growers understand their opportunities for shoring up water supplies through efforts like groundwater recharge. “We’re looking very closely at...

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Let the Tree Dictate When to Start Irrigating

There are many available techniques for scheduling irrigation in walnuts during the season, says Ken Shackel, Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. These schedules are based on weather, soil measurements, plant measurements and “WYND - What your neighbor does.” “But, how do you know when to start irrigating,” he asks. The most proposed method of late for scheduling irrigation is Evapo-Transpiration (ET). But newer research suggests there may be better alternatives for determining when to start. He explains that growers worry about two things--starting too late, and starting too early. “Growers worry that if they wait too long, trees will use up the deep soil moisture and run out of their bank account at harvest,” Shackel said. [caption id="attachment_5052" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A research team has learned to-date that a plant-based irrigation delay strategy appears to be working similarly...

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Clearing the Water on the Biological Opinions

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the federal rules known as biological opinions that are intended to protect threatened and endangered species in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a biological opinion, “…is a document that states the opinion of the service whether or not a federal action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.” We are nearing the end of 10 years of implementation of the biological opinions that were adopted in 2008 and 2009 and aimed but failed to lead to the recovery of Delta smelt and Chinook salmon. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, two agencies responsible for implementing the Endangered Species Act for different species, recently released updated versions of these biological opinions. Calendar-Based Approach is Outdated Some stakeholders...

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Making the Best Use of Irrigation Management Tools

Decisions about irrigation water management in tree nut crops can make or break a growing season. Effective water management, said University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Fresno County nut crops advisor Mae Culumber, should support high yield potential and favor desirable nut quality. Effective Water Management In her presentation at the South Valley Nut Conference, Culumber noted that effective water management can extend orchard life, assist in pest management, use water and energy efficiently, contribute to nitrogen management and mitigate salinity problems. Using irrigation management tools can help growers achieve those goals. Irrigation water management is applying water according to crop needs in an amount that can be stored in the plant root zone of the soil. The most common questions about irrigation management in tree nut orchards include:

  • When should irrigation begin?
  • How frequently should irrigations occur?
  • How...

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SGMA Survival

Facts about the historical groundwater management mandate in the San Joaquin Valley were all part of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Survival Toolkit meetings hosted by American Pistachio Growers (APG). Richard Matoian, executive director of American Pistachio Growers said the goals with the workshops are to keep growers informed about SGMA, enactment dates, potential restrictions on pumping, and other important news so they can be better informed as its implementation moves forward. SGMA Educational Workshops SGMA will have an impact, and APG wants growers to understand how they will be affected .This is not the last of these types of workshops, Matoian said as this will be an ongoing educational process over the next several years, if not decades, as the various SGMA implementation dates take effect. Even though groundwater management plans for targeted sub basins are required by January 2020, Don Wright, meeting moderator said groundwater sustainability agencies would...

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