Almond Board: Post-Harvest Irrigation

Taylor Hillman Almond Update

It’s the time of year when growers should be focusing on post-harvest irrigation. Sabrina Hill spoke with Almond Board Senior Manager, Irrigation and Water Efficiency, Spencer Cooper to find out what tips he would give growers.

Listen to the report:

From the Almond Board of California:

Paying it Forward
Think of your post-harvest and late season irrigation as “paying it forward” for next year’s crop. During this critical time, tree water need is significant and severe water stress can drastically reduce bloom, fruit set and yield.
Cooper says post-harvest irrigation is also important for salinity issues.

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.

There is an inherent conflict between the goals of maintaining groundwater quality while maintaining a productive irrigated agriculture. These issues are being addressed by the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS). CV-SALTS members include entities involved with water management, irrigation districts and some growers, as well as the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

In addition to resources from the Almond Board of California, Cooper recommends posts by the Almond Doctor, David Doll, for more information. You can find Doll’s articles here.