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AIM Provides Path Toward Improved Water Management and Efficiency



The Almond Board of California’s (ABC’s) newly adopted Accelerated Innovation Management (AIM) program focuses on the innovative almond farming practices that will be required to meet the future needs of the California Almond industry, as well as the consumer, the community and the planet (See “Almond Industry Leadership: Providing Next-Generation Solutions”). Water management and efficiency is a key component of the AIM program.

One of AIM’s four key initiatives is accelerating almond grower transition to and adoption of research-based, commercially available and increasingly water-efficient irrigation management and scheduling tools. An Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum has been developed in concert with UC experts to provide a pathway toward improved water stewardship and management.

The continuum was introduced at The Almond Conference in December, and the full Irrigation Improvement Continuum and comprehensive background materials will be posted on the Almond Board’s website by March 1, 2016, providing “one stop shopping” for almond irrigation management at all levels. It will answer questions like these: What do I need to know? What are the key resources I need? How do I execute?

The continuum describes three proficiency levels and provides a comprehensive program of irrigation management and scheduling practices in five key areas, and also explains how these practices can be effectively integrated at each level. The five key areas include:

  • Measuring irrigation system performance and efficiency;
  • Estimating orchard water requirements based on evapotranspiration;
  • Determining the amount of water applied;
  • Evaluating soil moisture; and
  • Evaluating plant water status.

Proficiency level 1.0 (minimum) outlines research-based irrigation management practices that are within reach of all California Almond growers. Proficiency level 2.0 (intermediate) and level 3.0 (advanced) advance practices to more sophisticated levels that attain even more “crop per drop.”

ABC’s objective through this AIM initiative is to assist all almond growers in meeting level 1.0 proficiency. Beyond this, ABC will work with growers to help them progress along the continuum to proficiency levels 2.0 and 3.0. This will be done in partnership with the many trusted and respected technical experts and resources available to California Almond growers, such as through University of California Cooperative Extension.