Proper nitrogen application and management is crucial for a healthy almond crop, and there are tools available to help growers make sure they’re using the right amount of nitrogen. Franklin Dlott, Product Manager at SureHarvest, tells us about the nitrogen calculator.
Listen to Dlott’s comments:
From the Almond Board:
The Almond Nitrogen Calculator can now be accessed through smartphones and e-readers, according to Franklin Dlott, product manager for SureHarvest, which developed and now manages the calculator for Almond Board of California. The N Calculator not only helps almond growers to manage nitrogen applications for efficient fertilizer use, but also generates a Nitrogen Management Plan, as required by Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP). The N Calculator:
- Calculates fertilization rates based on newest UC nitrogen management research
- Employs the Four R’s of nutrient management (right source, right rate, right timing and right location)
- Is based on almond crop demand and accounts for vegetative growth, as well
- Enables efficient fertilizer use
- Has a library of fertilizers in pull-down menus for easy rate calculations, based on data you put into the system
- Calculates nitrogen contributions from non-fertilizer sources such as groundwater, compost and legume cover crops
- Recalculates fertilizer rates as April leaf sample data and/or improved yield estimates become available during the season
- Can clone the N budget from one orchard to another within and between years if orchards are similar.
With the mobile-friendly update, growers can use smartphones and tablets for on-the-go data entry, calculations and report generation. Also new: on-screen guides and a “take a tour” guide for first-time users, as well as pop-up guides for specific steps within the calculator.
The N Calculator uses models developed by UC Davis plant scientist Dr. Patrick Brown and colleagues to predict how much nitrogen to apply and when to apply it to meet yield-based demand. To use this tool, growers enter their yield estimates pre- and post bloom, and then add early-season tissue-sampling results. “The Nitrogen Calculator is not only a powerful tool that calculates N requirements, but is also tied to regulatory compliance, with the ability to create the required Nitrogen Management Plan Worksheet under the ILRP,” Dlott explained.
“The model for the Almond Nitrogen Calculator is responsive, and you can revise your yield estimate as many times as you see fit between post bloom and final harvest,” Dlott continued. “The model that Patrick Brown came up with includes all of the elements that are required for reporting under the ILRP. It has estimated yield, fertilizer plan, actual yield, and accounts for nitrogen credits from irrigation water and other sources; so, by hitting one button, growers can produce the Nitrogen Management Plan Worksheet required by coalitions.” SureHarvest works closely with the coalitions to be sure each coalition’s reporting requirements are met, noted Dlott.
SureHarvest maintains SustainableAlmondGrowing.org, where Almond Board’s Nitrogen Calculator, Irrigation Calculator and Mapping Tool can be accessed. This is also where you will find modules to fill out under Almond Board of California’s California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP). CASP uses grower-submitted production information to demonstrate the sustainability1 of the California Almond industry to stakeholders — buyers, regulators and consumers — and helps growers find ways to improve efficiencies. For more on CASP, go to Almonds.com/Growers/Sustainability.