Irrigation Archives - West Coast Nut



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 Calendar-Based Approach is Outdated Some stakeholders...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Winter Leaching

Sitting on a beach at a cousin’s wedding near the equator, seemed an unusual spot to write this months article on winter leaching. There really is no winter and they don’t have to actually purposefully leach bad salts from the ground as Mother Nature handles all of that for them. Unfortunately in the west, we aren’t so lucky. Salts accumulate. Our soils hold much tighter to nutrients and our inadequate water supplies won’t allow us to clean up the bad guys very easily. The flip side is, we have the most amazing soils in the world for fresh produce and nuts. When we get our soils more in balance we can create spectacular quality and yield. Sitting on a beach at a cousin’s wedding near the equator, seemed an unusual spot to write this months article on winter leaching. There really is no winter and they don’t have to actually...

Read More

Thermal Imagery—a Tool for Assessing Water Status in Almond Trees

To meet increasing demand for reduced water consumption, California almond growers know efficiency in irrigation practices must improve. One of the improvement avenues identified by research is a more precise method of assessing tree stress. As a three-year study of thermal imagery continues, researchers aim to develop a method that will use inexpensive thermal imagery to evaluate tree water needs and help growers with management decisions. Research Work funded by the Almond Board of California (ABC) and lead by Brian Bailey of the University of California (UC) Davis Plant Sciences Department showed that using a forward-looking infrared radar device (FLIR) on an iPhone or Android can deliver adequate image resolution and spectral range providing the first step toward a goal of developing a quick and inexpensive tool to evaluate tree water needs in order to guide irrigation decisions. Their objectives in this research were to develop a model for evapotranspiration...

Read More