Irrigation Archives - West Coast Nut

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Irrigation



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...

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Is Your Almond Orchard a Candidate for Water Recharge


Results of a three-year study of almond orchards used for groundwater recharge not only revealed few issues with tree health, it measured the amount of water added to the water table. Researchers looked at effects on tree health, as well as how much water was sent below the root zone. Groundwater recharge is one of the avenues available to the agriculture industry to reverse overdraft of groundwater in basins underlying the Central Valley. With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) aimed at balancing extraction with replenishment, interest in groundwater recharge ability has grown. Flooding Orchards Flooding almond orchards during the dormant season could help accelerate natural groundwater recharging of aquifers, University of California (UC) researchers believe, but concerns about long term tree health are also being addressed in the study. “With careful attention to soil suitability and with appropriate access to water and infrastructure,” said Gabriele Ludwig, director for Sustainability...

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Almond Post-Harvest Irrigation


From hull split through September, almond trees are undergoing flower-bud differentiation for next year’s bloom. Prolonged water stress during this period reduces the bloom density and fruit set the following year, significantly reducing yields. Thus, the post-harvest period is a critical time for almond irrigation. Overview of Almond Flower Bud Differentiation Flower bud differentiation is the process by which the apical meristem in the bud changes its anatomy to form flower buds instead of vegetative buds. The exact timing of differentiation depends on the variety and environmental factors, such as temperature. Additionally, not all buds on the tree begin to differentiate at the same time or same rate. Thus, at any given point during the process, a tree will have buds in many stages of flower bud development. The process occurs in several stages:

1. Initiation. The internal physiology of the growing point changes in response to plant...

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Irrigation by Variety in Almond Orchards


    As farmers face increasing pressure to use water wisely due to environmental and policy changes in California, the importance of developing site-specific irrigation practices has never been more important. Site Specific Irrigation Site-specific irrigation management can account for heterogeneous soils, variable topography, diverse tree varieties and ages, changing environmental conditions, and more. In almond orchards, which typically have two or three varieties to improve cross-pollination, diverse tree varieties offer a potential application of site-specific irrigation management. My major advisor, Dr. Isaya Kisekka, and I have begun an experiment to investigate the potential of irrigation by variety as a form of site-specific irrigation. Could farmers improve quality, yield and/or crop per drop by independently irrigating tree varieties? The motivation to study irrigation by variety comes from the growth patterns of almond trees. Different almond varieties experience critical growth stages, such...

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Land, Water, Air: What’s Happening in Irrigation Tech


All farmers use technology in their orchards.This includes technology as it applies to—and continues to shape—irrigation. Agriculture has seen some incredible changes since the ancient peoples diverted flood waters into their fields in 6000 B.C., and the shifts in technology allow today’s farmers to know far more about what is happening in the soil, the trees, and with the water. When drip irrigation was invented in 1960, the irrigation and farming industries were transformed. In the 1970s, neutron probes appeared on the market and created yet another step for irrigation and farming. With the need to know more about what was happening in the dirt, soil moisture sensors and telemetry in the field became tech-of-the-day in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, where the devices were hardwired to your barn through a telephone landline. It wasn’t without its problems, and early adopters of this tech were more harmed by it than...

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