Deep dive: Water issues to be explored at The Almond Conference

Deep dive: Water issues to be explored at The Almond Conference

With drought, water quality, and water availability on the minds of every California almond grower, the Almond Board of California is preparing a full day of sessions on all aspects of water at the 43rd annual Almond Conference in Sacramento, Calif. Dec. 8–10.

With drought, water quality, and water availability on the minds of every California almond grower, the Almond Board of California (ABC) is preparing a full day of sessions on every aspect of water at the 43rd annual Almond Conference Dec. 8-10 in Sacramento.

Regardless of orchard size or level of management expertise, everyone will take away timely information for understanding water issues and finding pragmatic solutions to address the challenges they face in water-short years.

The Almond Conference opens Tuesday afternoon with grower topics including pollination, almond production in Australia, growing organic almonds, almond tree biology, and a state-of-the industry address by ABC President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Waycott, plus Board Chairman Mike Mason.

The evening will conclude with an opening reception sponsored by BASF, the conference’s premier sponsor.

Wednesday’s program is devoted entirely to water with multiple concurrent sessions including:

Achieving irrigation 2.0 + 3.0 efficiencies

Given the current drought and water shortages, interest in innovative irrigation solutions is at an all-time high. And as a permanent crop, California almond orchards are well suited to adopt these new technologies. Attendees can learn about irrigation management techniques to further increase irrigation efficiency.

Speakers will discuss the value of efficient irrigation, how to estimate crop water use with historic and real-time evapotranspiration (ETc), determining application rate with soil moisture and system efficiency factors, scheduling irrigations based on planning and real-time correction, and monitoring results with soil moisture and plant water status.
Managing orchard salinity during, after drought

The reliance on lower-quality irrigation water has impacted almond production by increasing the soil electrical conductivity and concentration of toxic salts. These salts need to be managed in order to maintain yields and extend orchard longevity. This session will discuss the practices that will help determine and manage potential salinity problems.
Water: What new regulations may mean for you

The passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and Proposition 1 (the Water Bond) has brought about a new level of water regulation, impacting all Californians and the state’s agricultural interests in particular. A panel of state water regulators and legal experts will discuss the adjudication process and how it harmonizes with SGMA, how you can participate in implementing SGMA, and surface water issues such as unimpaired flows.

Groundwater recharge: A role for almonds?

An important dry-year reserve for California agriculture and beyond, groundwater has been vital in helping the state get through another year of drought. However, like a bank account, the water withdrawn by pumping must be balanced with deposits of natural and managed recharge. Building on innovative research and in-field grower trials, attendees will learn how this practice has the potential to be implemented on California almond orchards. 

In addition to the educational workshop/symposia, more than 200 trade show exhibitors will demonstrate and discuss their newest equipment, products, and technologies. Exhibitors range from almond nurseries to harvest equipment manufacturers, displaying the newest water management software, moisture meters, and much more.

Here are some additional highlights of the three-day event:

The ever-popular Almond Board booth will feature new grower resources such as the updated Technical Kit, the 2015 Research Updates, the 2015 Almond Almanac, and many more industry resources.

The poster area will include updates on production research, environmental research, food quality and safety research, plus special projects from the 2015 Almond Leadership Program. Following tradition, ABC-funded researchers will be present at their posters during scheduled times for questions about research results.

Curious about bees and what it takes to get them ready for almond bloom? This year’s Almond Conference will take attendees through the yearlong journey from a beekeeper’s perspective. Growers can learn more about steps taken to ensure honey bee health. Be sure to visit the Bee Pavilion on the trade show floor for a visually stimulating experience.

Registration and attendance are free (with the exception of meal tickets) and easy. Visit AlmondConference.com and click on the register tab. Hotel rooms are filling up fast so book yours today. Hotel rates and contact information can be found at AlmondConference.com under the Location/Hotel tab. 

Many thanks to the metal sponsors for The Almond Conference: BASF (Premier), Borrell USA (Gold), Tomra Sorting Solutions (Silver), Coldwell Solar (Bronze), Satake (Copper), JKB Energy (Green). 

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