In our first report of the season, we noted that pollinators were experiencing more stress than non-pollinators varieties. Let's see just how much and what can be done to avoid this.
Researchers at UC Davis recently discussed the possibility that Nonpareil almond trees and pollinators might differ in water requirements. This can be attributed to the difference in tree size and crop load. Phytech's growers already know the answer, they differ and not by a small margin. According to Phytech's data, which is based on millions of trees being monitored in the valley, Carmel and Monterey experienced 3 times more stress compared to the NP variety. This means that irrigation decisions should be taken according to the pollinator's water demand this time of year. Raising quantity or frequency? So in what way should you adapt your strategy in order to avoid stress? Look into your irrigation frequency. Phytech's data shows that in the majority of the cases, the quantity of water delivered was not the issue. Stress-avoidance was achieved by raising the irrigation frequency. Pollinators' bigger size and crop load might affect their water uptake from the deeper root zone, so keeping the upper part of the soil adequately irrigated, will keep the trees happy. Numbers (and colors) don't lie.
In these two screenshots down below you can see that although irrigation was applied to some extent - it still wasn't enough to avoid stress.
However, in the following example, irrigation frequency was raised over the course of the week. The result: less yield-affecting stress, since pollinators were able to uptake more available water from the top part of the soil.
Bottom line: adapt your plans according to your pollinators' higher water demand in order to enjoy production optimization. Stay tuned for our next AlmondBeat Report