Updated: Mar 24
It is amazing how conditions can differ from one place to the next – from one part of the world to another. In the past 4 days some areas in New South Wales, Australia, have received more than 850mm of rain, which relates to 34 inches in 4 days. It is a different story across the Indian Ocean… "These amounts represent almost 8 years’ worth of rain on our farm here in the Western Cape, South Africa” says Amanteco Almonds’ Farm Operations Manager, Stephan le Roux to Paul Grobler, our Sales & Customer Services Manager.
Amanteco Almonds have been with Phytech for almost one full season now, and this has been an extremely dry & very interesting one. Currently, Stephan Le Roux and his team is busy harvesting full steam ahead!
Listening to the trees, changing long-held practices
We can't control the weather, but by connecting growers to their trees we're giving them more control than ever to optimize their growth, health and productivity.
As with any new technology, growers need to put their trust in the unknown. Once Stephan and his team realized the value of direct plant measurements and the accuracy of the plant-based information, they made drastic changes to their irrigation schedules based on what their trees are telling them.
An example of a grower optimizing production during the season : adapting irrigation according to the trees' real-time needs:
Changes were made to the amount of applied irrigation during the shifts, as well as the timing of the irrigation based on the environmental conditions and plant-data. There were specific days where Amanteco were advised by 3rd parties to irrigate up to 10mm, but, because they followed what their trees were saying, they applied less that 4mm and achieved very positive growth rates and tree recovery results.
Some recent Q&A between Phytech & Amanteco: -
Paul: "Now that you have progressed well into the harvest, what do you think about this year’s crop?
Stephan: This season has definitely been a different season. We are approx. two weeks behind where we were this time last year, However the crop is looking very good. We should start picking up the pace this coming week and get things knocked over.
Paul: During the season, we change our algorithm to a hull-split algorithm which naturally assists in safely preparing the trees for harvest. How did this change assist you?
Stephan: It helped us find the right balance between deficit irrigation and tree health. When the time came to start shaking, the nuts detached easily from the trees and we could therefore reduce the need to re-shake. We also did not have any damage to the tree trunks and there are a lot more leaves left on the trees post-shake, which is vital to manage our trees post-harvest.
Paul: How do the trees look at the moment? Do you see good potential for next season?
Stephan: The trees look good and they are definitely showing signs of great potential for next season.
Paul: Can you describe the value of the Phytech service and what your opinion is moving forward?
Stephan: We are excited to be able to get actual feedback from our trees. Over and above the tree condition and good harvest, we also ended up optimizing our irrigation which, in turn, resulted in a 25% water saving. This has been a very dry season and water is an extremely valuable resource which we all have to use wisely. It’s also not just the 25% water saving that should be taken into consideration, but also the electricity usage saved not having to pump an additional 25% of water. Having visibility of the valves opening and closing as well as irrigation alerts really assisted us in managing our irrigation system & filtration well! We are really excited to expand our coverage with Phytech for the 2021/2022 season.
Phytech's irrigation sensors trigger low-pressure alerts and give growers full visibility of their system's performance