Almond Board: Nitrogen Sampling

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nitrogen sampling
In today’s Almond Update, Dr. Patrick Brown discusses the importance of leaf sampling in early spring for nitrogen. Sabrina Hill has more.

Almond Update – April Leaf Sampling

Go to for additional leaf sampling guidelines and to access the online calculator.

From the Almond Board:

It is important to supply almond trees with as much nitrogen as they need at different stages of growth to optimize yields and quality. Almond trees need nitrogen to form proteins, which in turn form protein-dense nuts.

Research has shown that almonds can achieve nitrogen use efficiencies (NUEs) of more than 70%, making almonds among the most efficient nitrogen using crop. Applying these fertilizers in amounts that exceed what the tree can take up, or at a time when no uptake can occur, is not only costly: nitrogen in the form of nitrates may then move through the soil beyond the root zone, potentially leaching into and contaminating groundwater.

Nitrates in groundwater is a regulatory issue governed by the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program, which requires all growers in California to prepare a nitrogen management plan each year, starting in 2015. A management plan takes into consideration the contribution of various sources of nitrogen other than fertilizer: nitrates in irrigation water, nitrogen in cover crops and nitrogen that is contributed by compost.

An updated in-season nutrient budget model, including early-season leaf sampling guidelines, has been developed under the leadership of Patrick Brown, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.

About the Almond Board:

At the request of the almond industry, a Federal Marketing Order for almonds was established in 1950. At that time, it dealt primarily with compliance issues, and accordingly, was called the Almond Control Board.  In the 1970’s, recognizing a need to address market development, the name was changed to the Almond Board of California.  While compliance is still a crucial part of its activities, the Board now engages in production, nutrition and market research, advertising and promotion in domestic and international markets, quality control and statistical analysis and dissemination.  As a Federal Marketing Order, it is important to note that the Board is not involved with and is expressly prohibited from setting field or market prices.

The Board is composed of 10 members.  The more than 6,000 almond growers and 104 almond handlers elect the five growers and five handlers in an annual election process held throughout the state.  Once elected, the Board elects its chair and vice-chair.  The Board members give the chair the authority to appoint individuals to standing committees.  Board and committee members serve without compensation. The Board is responsible for establishing policy, recommending budgets and programs to the Secretary of Agriculture for approval, and reviewing program results and effectiveness. The Almond Board is funded by an annual assessment on the marketable kernel weight of almonds.

The Almond Board of California recognizes the diverse makeup of the California almond industry and values contributions offered by its growers and handlers.  The Board seeks to ensure that its programs and policies are inclusive rather than exclusive and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. Furthermore, the Board accepts and has adopted the concept of diversity which views society as a mixture of people, all with different cultural backgrounds, and each with a unique perspective and ability to contribute to the process.