Irrigation Archives - West Coast Nut


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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Almonds being loaded for transport

Tips for Almond Harvest

By Cecilia Parsons Associate Editor

Being prepared increases the likelihood of a successful almond harvest.   Pest Control The number one concern for growers approaching harvest should be controlling navel orangeworm (NOW) in their orchards. Mel Machado, director of grower relations for Blue Diamond Growers said timing of spray applications for this pest is critical to control and minimizing nut damage due to NOW. Timing hull split sprays should be at the top of every grower’s harvest preparation checklist, Machado said. “You don’t want to be too late with your hull split sprays, you want to make sure you get good coverage.” Timing and coverage can be challenges for growers. It helps to understand the life cycle of NOW to plan spray applications for when they will be most effective. Hulls split earlier at the tops of the tree canopy than those on the lower third of the canopy. Growers and farm managers are also...

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Preparing for irrigation season

Drip Irrigation Isn’t Just for Young Hazelnut Orchards Anymore

By: Danita Cahill, Contributing Writer

The census is in: drip irrigation produces bigger hazelnut trees faster, more nuts sooner, and fuller, heavier kernels. With drip irrigation, hazelnut production is now possible in dry soils with low-clay content, instead of only in historically-used prime soils. “Drip irrigation is increasingly being adopted. It really has enhanced orchard establishment,” said Nik Wiman, Assistant Professor, Orchard Crops Extension Specialist at Oregon State University (OSU) Wiman Lab. “Grows trees a lot faster. We’re seeing nuts by year four.” Benefits of Drip Irrigation on Established Trees Jeff Newton, farm manager for Crimson West/Christensen Farms in McMinnville, Oregon, got in on the ground floor with hazelnut drip irrigation. He partnered with OSU extension service and Crop Production Services, and in 2011, installed a drip system into a 100-acre orchard of two-year-old Jefferson trees. Like Wiman, Newton sees a higher yield sooner with drip irrigation. Dryland trees in poor soil might take anywhere...

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Distribution Uniformity:

By Dani Lightle, UC Cooperative Extension Orchard Systems Advisor, Glenn, Butte & Tehama Counties

What is Distribution Uniformity? Distribution Uniformity (DU) is a measure of how uniformly water is being applied across the orchard, or whether certain parts of the orchard are receiving more water than others. It is a measure of the irrigation system. DU is a different measure than irrigation efficiency, which is a measurement of how well the applied water matches the crop water requirements. Irrigation efficiency is a measurement of how well you—the irrigator—applies a correct amount of water at an appropriate frequency. However, it is impossible to have a high irrigation efficiency without also having high distribution uniformity (Figure 1). [caption id="attachment_1928" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Figure 1. Illustrations of irrigation uniformity and efficiency. Darker brown soil indicates the wetted soil by the irrigation system, while light brown soil indicates dry soil. a) Water is not applied uniformly, nor efficiently. Trees are getting...

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Iron Bacteria and the Problems it Creates in your Emitters

By Cecilia Parsons, Associate Editor

A slime invasion might make for a good horror movie, but no one wants to find one in their drip emitters. Iron-loving slime bacteria can cause severe clogging in drip irrigation systems. Iron bacteria is a filamentous amorphous gelatinous type of reddish-brown slime. When the bacteria, the most common is Gallionella Sp., reacts with iron through an oxidation process, iron is changed to an insoluble form. In this form, the iron is surrounded by the filamentous bacteria colonies creating the sticky iron slime that is responsible for clogging the dripper. Sarge Green, interim director of Center for Irrigation Technology at Fresno State University, said the slime/iron problem that is causing problems in drip irrigation systems might be caused by water quality or the age of the well. It is likely that on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, where wells are pumping water from historic depths, iron in...

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