Almond production techniques are not universal. Some countries are ahead of others with new practices. Burchell Nursery product development and plant breeder John Slaughter says specifically that Spain is ahead of California on new harvesting practices, and there are things for our almond industry to learn from advances in other countries, and vice-versa.
“In this instance, the Spanish are well ahead of us in shake-catch. As an industry, there is certainly a new awakening in Spain with regard to better orchards, even irrigating. Over time we have seen people put more emphasis in drip irrigation, planting tighter and using varieties that have larger kernels and less massive shells,” Slaughter said. “They resemble more of California when it comes to the care and the changes that are going on, but they are ahead of us in shake-catch use and technology. We are trying to exchange and learn from them how we can adapt orchards and tree architecture for shake-catch.”
Slaughter often visits other countries to see firsthand what is working and what’s not. Burchell Nursery recently hosted growers from Spain who came to California to do the same. “They were here looking at rootstocks and some varieties. We were trying to figure out what they are doing and watching their videos and how they adapt their systems so that we are hopefully ahead of particulate matter regulations which we think are imminent.”