How We Grow

2021 Jan/Feb How We Grow

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WATER USE Water Worries? ABC Has Your Back Organizations ranging from Merriam- Webster to the American Dialect Society annually select a "word of the year." While "uncertainty" didn't claim any titles for 2020, it undoubtedly had a strong case to make. For growers, uncertainty is all too familiar and could be the word of the year at the start of every growing season, especially as it relates to the accessibility, availability and affordability of almonds' most vital nutrient. "I talk to almond growers from across the state every day and concern over water always comes up – whether it's future access to groundwater, the availability of surface water or the cost to get water on an orchard, it's a constant theme in conversations," said Tom Devol, senior manager of Field Outreach and Education at the Almond Board of California (ABC). "I want growers to know that ABC hears those concerns and we continue to invest in tools, programs and hands-on support to help growers get the most crop-per-drop for their water situation." Helping growers make their water – and water dollar – go farther is central to the Almond Orchard 2025 Goal focused on achieving an additional 20% reduction in the amount of water used to grow a pound of almonds. What follows is a Reader's Digest version of the various ABC irrigation resources, events and services available for growers in 2021 – all at no cost! Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum Known as the Continuum, 1 this is the most comprehensive, almond-specific irrigation manual ever assembled. It is organized into three management levels – 1.0 (fundamental), 2.0 (intermediate) and 3.0 (advanced) – with each level detailing five measurement areas. Devol describes them this way: Orchard Water Requirements or "estimating the needs of your trees." Irrigation System Performance or "how efficiently you deliver water to meet your trees' needs." Applied Water or "measuring how much came out of the pipe." Soil Moisture or "the effectiveness of your delivery and how much water was deposited in 'the bank' for your trees to withdraw." Plant Water Status or "how much stress your trees are experiencing." CASP Irrigation Calculator Located on the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) website, 2 the Irrigation Calculator supports practices in the Continuum. This free tool generates irrigation schedules and run times that advise on the amount and timing of irrigation based on local evapotranspiration (ET) rates and "We use the Almond Board's Continuum as a guide to see where the industry is going and to stay ahead of the curve." — Pat Biddy almond irrigation consultant 1 View the Continuum in its entirety at 2 ALMOND IRRIGATION IMPROVEMENT CONTINUUM ABC has invested in irrigation research since 1982 – funding 228 projects, to date – with the goal of helping growers achieve efficiencies and best utilize water resources. 3

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