Investing in efficiency.
The Almond Board of California began investing in research in 1982 to determine if a new irrigation method—microirrigation—could work in almond orchards. Previously farmers had flooded their fields or used large sprinklers. The results were positive and, by applying water directly to the trees’ roots rather than across the field, farmers conserved water and increased yields. In fact, between the 1990s and 2010s, almond farmers reduced the amount of water used to grow each pound of almonds by 33 percent.3 Today, 85% of California almond farms use microirrigation4, nearly two times the rate of California farms overall.5
We know there is still more to be done , and that’s why we’re doing it. By 2025, we commit to reduce the amount of water to grow a pound of almonds by an additional 20 percent. This work is driven by research that improves water conservation in almonds and across all of agriculture, with 239 water research projects funded to date.
While ABC’s research partners advance irrigation science, those results are only as useful as their adoption on-farm. That’s the core focus of ABC’s Industry Outreach who provide boots-on-the-ground support, meeting one-on-one with farmers to provide training and technical information and share best practices. One of those resources, the Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum, is helping almond farmers to accelerate adoption of water-conserving technology.