A new resource has been made available for growers, focused on the use of cover crops in almond orchards. The new Best Management Practices (BMPs) guide provides a thorough look at the potential benefits of cover crops and how to implement them. Post-Doctoral Scholar at UC Davis, Vivian Wauters was one of the authors of the resource. She said the new cover crop BMPs can serve as a tool for all growers, despite their previous experience level with cover cropping.
“At the beginning of the guide, we have a single-page timeline of cover crop management for those that want a quick reference. Then we go into detail in the meat of the guide as we go through the season,” Wauters explained. “At the end of the guide, we also have some key citations for people who want to dig more into the literature on these things. We finish up the guide with a list of funding and information resources.”
The information presented in the cover crop BMPs can assist growers who have never tried cover cropping, to those looking to fine-tune their approach. The practice of cover cropping can produce different results depending on the farming operation. “Cover crops in almonds can have really important, positive effects I think mainly in three areas: in soil health, in weed control, and supporting pollinators. But again, what benefits you get is going to depend a lot on management,” Wauters noted.
The new cover crop BMPs incorporate information from a variety of different sources. Over the course of a year, the authors worked with growers, researchers, government agencies, and other industry members. The BMPs will continue to be updated to provide growers with the most valuable information possible.
“Cover cropping is one tool for growers to use within a suite of practices and we in our research never think of cover cropping as the end-all-be-all,” said Wauters. “As we do more research, we will update the guide because we want it to be a living resource that improves over time as we learn more about how to use this tool.”
The new cover cropping resource is available online from the Almond Board of California.
Listen to Wauters’ full interview below.