“Really, our number one nutrient is applied water,” said Spencer Cooper, a senior manager at The Almond Board, to an audience of several hundred growers in Turlock for the Tree & Vine Expo. “Maintenance is something that gets overlooked. We see water coming out of the drip line and we think we’re good.”
Cooper emphasized the importance of careful irrigation, nitrogen management, and use of fungicide and cover crops in his talk.
For irrigation, he advocated a thorough post-harvest cleaning of all the elements of the irrigation system.
“This time of the year, it’s really easy to flush your lines...flush the hoses as well as the mainlines,” Cooper said. “Check sand filters, and if you have gypsum machines, clean those things out. It’s really easy this time of year to get the gyp out, clean the filters. There’s nothing worse than in springtime, having it seize up.”
This topic is close to our hearts at Ceres Imaging, where our aerial images target common problems including clogged irrigation systems. Growers who use our Water Stress images can get a view of irrigation system effectiveness throughout the growing season.
Cooper also told growers about a valuable tool for planning nitrogen application.
“Take advantage of this. You are the only commodity that has this available to you,” he said, touting the work of California Almond Sustainability Program, which can be found at www.sustainablealmondgrowing.org.
The site includes a mapping tool that also generates Nitrogen Management Plans, which is a report required by the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.
“As we look forward to 2018, great time to make sure your pollination is set up,” Cooper said.
Among his pollination tips was that growers spraying pesticides should wait until the evenings when the bees are done pollinating.
For more information, growers can visit:
- An Almond Board guide to irrigation improvement
- Almond Board’s Spencer Cooper can be reached by phone at (209) 343-3231 or emailed at email@example.com for a consultation or on-farm visit
- Additional pollination tips in Ceres Imaging’s blog:
Growers can help bees, to help themselves: Insights from Project Apis m.