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Getting the Most Out of the Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum

The Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum is a comprehensive manual of irrigation management and scheduling practices.

Growers may be at different stages of irrigation efficiency for a variety of reasons, including orchard age and access to new technology. The Continuum provides information at three management levels — 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 — encouraging growers to ladder up their efficiency over time. Each level covers the following concepts and how to execute and  integrate them:

  • Measuring irrigation system performance and efficiency
  • Estimating orchard water requirements based on evapotranspiration

  • Determining the water applied

  • Evaluating soil moisture

  • Evaluating plant water status

Continuum Level 1.0 (fundamental management) outlines irrigation management practices that are within reach for all California almond growers.  The Continuum Level 2.0 (intermediate management) and Level 3.0 (advanced management) address practices at more advanced levels to attain even more “crop per drop.”

The Irrigation Continuum was developed in partnership with many trusted and respected technical experts and resources such as the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension. Please email Tom Devol, at the Almond Board for an in-the-orchard visit or phone consultation. Field Outreach staff also provides system-specific recommendations on an orchard-by-orchard basis to increase growers’ "crop per drop."

Generate Uniform Hullsplit With Strategic Irrigation.

Years of research show that almond trees can tolerate moderate drought stress from the completion of kernel fill to 90% hullsplit without risk of crop loss or long-term yield effects. Moderate water stress at this time provides three additional benefits:

1) lower potential for hull rot;

2) a more uniform hullsplit leading to an earlier harvest, when crop damage from rainfall is less likely;


3) an earlier harvest. All of these benefits can help minimize crop exposure to late-season navel orangeworm flights and potential aflatoxin contamination.