Almond Board has supported research by all four California scientists
Four University of California, Davis, researchers whose projects the Almond Board of California has supported today received national recognition for their water conservation work. Professors Patrick Brown, Jan Hopmans, and Ken Shackel, as well as recently retired Cooperative Extension Specialist Larry Schwankl were among a team of scientists awarded the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s 2014 Experiment Station Section Excellence in Multistate Research Award. The award recognized “exceptional collaboration on a multistate research project that helps farmers better use micro-irrigation systems to sustainably irrigate their land, especially during droughts and water shortages.” The Almond Board has a long standing history starting in 1989 and continuing to the present of funding research led by people from this group.
“Congratulations to our friends and colleagues on this well-deserved honor,” said Bob Curtis, Associate Director, Agricultural Affairs for the Almond Board of California. “Research is the foundation of our sustainability program, and we’re thrilled to continue our work with these world-class scientists on vital issues like water conservation.”
Since 1982, the Almond Board has funded 79 irrigation research projects. That research has led to advances in farming methods including micro-irrigation and irrigation scheduling, among others. Over the past two decades, California almond growers have reduced the amount of water they use per pound of almonds by 33 percent.
Today more than 70 percent of almond orchards surveyed under the Almond Board’s California Almond Sustainability Program reported localized irrigation systems to conserve water and 83 percent reported using demand-based irrigation, monitoring weather, soil moisture, and tree needs to determine when and how much to irrigate rather than watering on a pre-determined schedule.
“Almond growers have made remarkable strides in water efficiency – and we couldn’t have done it without our partners at UC Davis,” said Curtis.
The Almond Board’s commitment to research continues to expand, with more than $2.5 million invested this year alone. In addition to ongoing research to help growers make responsible irrigation decisions, the Board continues to focus on identifying drought-resistant rootstock and tree varieties.