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Episode 23: Irrigation Efficiency with Kirk Pumphrey


Kirk Pumphrey grows 160 acres of almonds on Westwind Farms in Yolo County. He has been on a seven-year journey to finetune his operation, especially in the areas of irrigation efficiency and distribution uniformity.

In ‘13 and ‘14 the market was down, and a piece of property became available. I got through the planning of the orchard probably moving, I would say a bit quick in not doing as much research as I probably should have…. I quickly learned and understood the deficiencies of those decisions and reached out for help.
Kirk Pumphrey

Through this process he has developed close relationships with researchers at UC Davis, local resource conservation districts (RCDs) and others. Pumphrey has been driven to find the latest research and best practices that work for him on his farm. Not only is he collaborating with UC Davis on multiple research projects, but he has also worked with Kevin Greer at the Tehama County Resource Conservation District to run distribution uniformity tests, and has found a way to remove boron from his water and sell it as a fertilizer to areas that are deficient. Given the last few years of severe drought, Pumphrey has explored flowmeters and the impact they have had on his water efficiency.

We'll find at the beginning of the year, the output of that well is “x.” We've already noticed by the end of this month of April that we're in right now, a difference that our well output already has. Consequently, runtimes are a bit longer and I'm sure as we progress through the season, the same thing's going to happen, and the water volume will change. You can't use anything that's theoretical. You've got to base it on gallons.
Kirk Pumphrey

In Today’s episode:

  • Meet Kirk Pumphrey, an almond grower for Westwind Farms in Yolo County.
  • Explore the journey he has taken towards collaborating with researchers and RCDs to best use the resources he has available
  • Discover Pumphrey’s use and recommendation of flowmeter sensors to increase his water efficiency
  • Learn about his best practices in timing and application for pursuing grant money to help your operation be as efficient as possible without incurring extra expense
ABC Update

There’s no easy year when it comes to farming in California, and as you just heard from Pumphrey, the journey to get it right doesn’t really have a final destination. Since 1973 the almond community has supported more than $89 million in research to improve farming practices. One of the many deliverables from this investment is a number of helpful research-backed resources that growers can access for free.

Almond Board Senior Manager of Industry Relations and Communications Jenny Nicolau says a good place to start is, where you’ll find a whole irrigation section with each tool listed separately and east to access. The page also contains educational videos from the irrigation station series that the Almond Board produced a few years ago. Growers can get more information about the tools and topics by accessing the “Orchard Management” section of the “Almond Industry” tab and search by topic.

For more information about this or any of the topics we discuss on this podcast, reach out to the Almond Board’s Field Outreach Team directly at

The Almond Journey Podcast is brought to you by the Almond Board of California. This show explores how growers, handlers, and other stakeholders are making things work in their operations to drive the almond industry forward. Host Tim Hammerich visits with leaders throughout the Central Valley of California and beyond who are finding innovative ways to improve their operations, connect with their communities, and advance the almond industry.

ABC recognizes the diverse makeup of the California almond industry and values contributions offered by its growers, handlers, and allied industry members. However, the opinions, services and products discussed in existing and future podcast episodes are by no means an endorsement or recommendation from ABC. The Almond Journey podcast is not an appropriate venue to express opinions on national, state, local or industry politics. As a Federal Marketing Order, the Almond Board of California is prohibited from lobbying or advocating on legislative issues, as well as setting field and market prices.