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Central Valley Growers Eligible for Free Irrigation Evaluations

8/6/2020

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For several years, the East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District (ESRCD) has offered growers a FREE mobile irrigation lab service, one of the many voluntary technical assistance programs designed to help growers meet their conservation and production goals. The mobile lab consists of an in-field irrigation system evaluation, which includes an assessment of distribution uniformity, application and flow rates. This information is then compiled in a report that provides growers with site-specific recommendations for system improvements and best practices, providing practical and cost-effective knowledge for growers located in ESRCD territory.

Growers interested in receiving this service – again, for free – still have time to contact the ESRCD to sign up and gain a free irrigation evaluation this summer.

This free service is made possible through a unique partnership involving ESRCD and the Almond Board of California (ABC), who provides funding to the ESRCD to hire interns who then conduct irrigation evaluations that are free to the almond grower. By working with ESRCD, up-and-coming irrigation professionals have the opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on knowledge of irrigation performance while growers can receive invaluable insights into their orchard systems at no cost to them – a true win-win situation.

“An irrigation evaluation of your orchard can help identify issues that may be costing you energy, water and ultimately yields. Using this free service to create a report card on your system’s performance is a win for you, a win for the interns performing the evaluation, and a win for the broader almond industry as it continues to strive to achieve its 2025 Goal of increasing water use efficiency,” said Tom Devol, senior manager of Field Outreach and Education at the Almond Board.

Devol noted that beyond the ESRCD, Resource Conservation Districts across California offer similar free or low-cost technical assistance programs, and he encourages growers to contact their local RCD to learn more about these opportunities.

Growers who want to learn more about these free irrigation evaluations may contact ESRCD’s Irrigation Technician Riley Gillihan at
riley@eaststanrcd.org or 209-287-3674. Those interested in gaining a broader understanding of irrigation performance and optimization are encouraged to visit Almonds.com/Irrigation to view a complete version of ABC’s Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum, a comprehensive manual of irrigation management and scheduling practices that range from fundamental to advanced management levels.

For in-orchard, irrigation assistance beyond an evaluation, growers may reach out to Devol at
tdevol@almondboard.com.