Water quality and irrigation go hand in hand for almond growers, and Spencer Cooper, Senior Manager of Irrigation and Water Efficiency for the Almond Board of California says it’s important for plant health that producers keep a close eye on water quality. Cooper explains some problems that can come from poor water quality and says there are a few things growers should keep an eye on.
From the Almond Board of California:
Almond growers rely on good water quality to ensure both a healthy tree and a healthful crop. Growers also need to protect surface- and groundwater from runoff, spray drift and/or leaching by following good management practices.
Almonds have a relatively low tolerance for saline conditions; however, the nature of irrigated agriculture is that salts carried in the irrigation water are added to the soils and accumulate there. Different water sources carry different levels of salts. For example, groundwater on the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley is generally naturally high in salts, while surface water from snowmelt is very low in salts. Depending on the sources of water available to the grower, a part of irrigation management is to ensure enough good-quality water is applied to leach salts below the root zone. Minimizing the addition of salt to the soil and removing salts by leaching are critical for continued almond production. For more information on water quality and irrigation, head to http://www.almonds.com/irrigation#tc-water-quality.