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Coping with Drought

During this time of unprecedented drought, the Almond Board has been providing information and tools to help growers cope with tight water supplies. This effort was kicked off at The Almond Conference last December with a workshop on irrigation strategies for drought management. Since then, we’ve published a series of articles in past issues of this newsletter to provide the most current research results from irrigation experts whose research is funded by the Almond Board through the Production Research Committee. You can review these articles at AlmondBoard.com/Outlook for more information on these key points:

  • With severe restrictions, available water should be spread out over the season in proportion to almond evapotranspiration. With modest cutbacks, managed deficit irrigation for a 10 to 15% water savings just prior to and during hullsplit will not reduce yields.
  • In scheduling irrigations, the pressure chamber is a valuable tool.
  • Save some water for the end of the season. Studies in the late ’80s and early ’90s showed that postharvest irrigations drastically improved the following year’s crop. The lack of postharvest irrigation reduced yield the next season by more than 50%.
  • When water supplies are significantly restricted, yields are reduced in the drought year as well as the subsequent year, but production can recover by the second to third season with sufficient water supplies.

Two additional key topics are covered in this issue. I encourage you to read these articles and the others in the series if you have not already done so.

Sincerely,
Joe MacIlvaine, Chair
Production Research Committee

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