In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, it appears that it is going to be a quick bloom period this year and growers will want to be prepared with their fertility management plans. Maintaining appropriate nitrogen levels in the orchard is going to play a pivotal role in crop development.
“It’s always good to have a plan and with a quick bloom and leaf out, conditions are dry, and they’re projected to be dry for the next several weeks. So, folks are going to have to likely be turning on their irrigation systems,” said Pat Clay Manager of Field Development for Valent USA. “After you get leaf out and start that water you want to consider doing nitrogen application through your drip or sprinkler lines.”
Nitrogen applications should generally begin right after bloom as the trees leaf out. With the speed at which bloom is progressing this year, those applications may be starting relatively soon. Several applications can be made over time up to early June typically, to meet the demand depending on what the nut set looks like.
“University studies have shown that for about every 1,000 pounds of kernels the almonds are going to remove about 65 to 70 pounds of nitrogen. So that’s nitrogen content that’s actually measured in the hulls, in the shells, and in the kernels,” Clay noted. “So, for every thousand pounds of yield you have, that’s 65 to 70 pounds of nitrogen at a minimum that’s required.”
As growers are out in the orchard planning their fertility management strategy, it is also a good time to monitor for pests that may be starting to emerge such as peach twig borer. Inadequate management of the pest can lead to losses in both quality and yield.
“During bloom, it’s a little bit challenging from the standpoint of spraying insecticides. You have bees out in the orchards foraging and pollinating the crop so there are a very limited number of insecticides that can safely be used during that bloom period,” Clay explained. “A Bt product like DiPel is one of those that fits really nicely into that bloom period for an insecticide spray.”
Listen to the interview below.