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Ethan Nicol finds answers by asking the trees

The question of how do growers know when and how long to irrigate is at the heart of what we do here in Phytech. Our approach is to "ask" the trees via our trunk-sensors, and by translating their "answers" through our proprietary algorithm let growers know exactly how thirsty they are.

Recently, West coast nut magazine turned to leading almond pros in the irrigation industry to ask them the same question. One of these experts, Ethan Nicol, an Independent Crop Advisor, has been looking for years for tools that will help answer the same question. "Are we effectively irrigating or not?"

Below is an excerpt from West Coast Nut article.

This lingering question brought Nicol to his Almond Board Leadership Program class project, where he experimented with dendrometers on two different varieties of almonds.

“Hardshells were much more prone to stress, even though they were receiving the same amount of water as the Nonpareils,” he explained. Nicol’s project measured the contraction and expansion of the tree trunk utilizing the dendrometer data.

“The dendrometers showed we needed to make irrigation changes,” he said. “By shifting 20% of the water from Nonpareils to hardshells, we were able to increase hardshell yield by 20-30%.”

This shift in irrigation Nicol did was halfway through the growing season. “Imagine if you make those adjustments earlier in the season,” he said. “Growers can save water and increase their yield just by managing their tools to irrigate effectively.”

Nicol was literally able to have his switch pay off with a higher yield

For the full article on West Coast Nut website click here

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