2021 AlmondBeat #2: Pressure check-up and optimizing nut size
In our first AlmondBeat report for the 2021 season, we learned how Phytech users are able to identify the exact point in time when their trees woke up, and what is the optimal irrigation scheme to optimize growth at the beginning of the season. As the season advances we continue to examine data representing over 10 million trees monitored in the Valley, to hear what the trees are telling us. AlmondBeat report #2, here we go Phytech team
Know pressure Legendary basketball coach John Robert Wooden famously said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail", and these days preparation is key for winning the Almond season.
Just before growers shift gears and switch to regular irrigation plans, it is highly recommended (especially in systems that lack pressure compensators) to run a full check-up of the irrigation system's performance.
Making sure your irrigation system runs smoothly is easily done with Phytech and can save a lot of sweat and unnecessary yield-affecting stress days (not to mention human-stress...)
With sensors placed at the end of the drip-line in each block, growers get full visibility of their system's performance as well as irrigation alerts once pressure drops. Verify that your target PSI is being reached or make sure that pressure alerts are triggered. Our pressure maps are another great
way to quickly see the big picture and act fast where pressure is too low.
By cross-checking the pressure maps and the stress maps, growers can identify certain patterns and the effect of their irrigation plan on their trees' status. For example, a dark-green plant status which indicates that trees have enough water with high pressure in the block may lead the grower to reduce water delivery.
Nut Fill Beside checking the system, growers should be looking to optimize nut size which rapidly develops between March to June, until it finally hardens.
The tree is pushing sugars to fill the nut, and that requires enough available water supply. Too many stress days might cause the tree to allocate its resources - sugar and water - from the Kernel, which may lead to a shrinkage in size.
Avoid consecutive orange and yellow statuses by monitoring closely Phytech's plant-status. Watching out for increasing MDS (Maximum Daily Shrinkage) number is another way to help keep trees happy. Over-irrigation which can also have a negative effect on nut fill is indicated by dark-greens on the app, and growers should avoid them as well during this period. Just over the corner is the season's first heatwave. Like humans, trees must acclimatize so the first sharp rise in temperatures will put the trees into some stress. Do not panic but try to have water going in anticipation of that heatwave. This is especially true if there is a heavier than normal crop load on the trees, which causes an increase in water-demand.
Less is more (frequently) Listening to the trees (by monitoring the plant-status and growth graph) enable growers to adapt their irrigation plan according to real-time water-demand. No need for predetermined schemes when the trees tell you exactly when and how much water do they need. In many cases that leads to a higher frequency plan instead of long-irrigation cycles. As seen in the below screen-shot, large quantities were not effective in avoiding stress. It also helps in cutting back standing water and thus diseases like Alternaria. That's it. Stay tuned for our next AlmondBeat report