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Showing posts from May, 2014

Modern Agriculture

What is Modern Agriculture?
Modern agriculture could be a scientist in a lab creating the newest impossible non-meat hamburger. Modern agriculture could mean the development of GMO seeds to decrease pesticide use. Modern agriculture could be turning on your irrigation system from an app on your computer. Modern agriculture could just mean the use of GPS in tractors, or maybe just the use of a tractor on a farm. Modern agriculture could mean something different to you depending on how you look at agriculture.

Modern agriculture is essentially developing practices that help farmers increase efficiency and reduce the amount of resources to meet the world's needs. But depending on your interpretation of the term you could already have created your opinion of modern agriculture. 2% of the population is involved in agriculture but 100% of the population has opinions.
That's the situation we face today, consumers tend to develop their own opinions of modern agriculture without unders…

Fertigation: Combining fertilizer with irrigation

This weekend we were fertigating. Fertilization and irrigation are combined to form a process called fertigation using the irrigation system. Nitrogen fertilizers are used in the spring and early summer to promote almond and vegetation growth. Since almonds are high in protein they use a lot of nitrogen to form proteins in the almonds. We also fertigate with potassium, almonds are high in potassium therefore the tree takes up a lot of potassium out of the ground to produce the crop. This potassium needs to be replaced in the soil for next years crop to be successful.

The process of fertilizing is made easier for farmers who use drip or micro irrigation. Fertilizer is delivered to our storage tanks by the semi truck load. Next, when the timing is right for the tree to efficiently use the fertilizer we pump the fertilizer into the irrigation system. Since we use drip irrigation on our farm, we simply pump the fertilizer into the irrigation system. Then the water drips from…

Drilling a new water well

Over the last two weeks we had a water well drilled on our farm! Because of the drought, we have an 80 acre field that district water allocations would be cut off as of may 15th. We have an old well that had the metal casing collapse 10 years ago and is no longer usable for us. We placed a request 6 months ago to have a well drilled and two weeks ago we got word that we were next up!

Drilling a well is quite the process. They drill foot by foot taking samples every 20 to 30 feet. These samples ensure that the water is good quality and available at that point. Also, the samples are used by the county and the drilling company to determine how deep we need to put cement around the well to ensure nothing is able to get down to the aquifer that is not supposed to be there. The drilling rig had to go 340 feet before they hit the top of the aquifer at our farm. The drilling continued to 935 feet in total to ensure we would have an active well if the aquifer drops further.


Drought caused spraying

This week we are spraying for mite, peach twig borer, navel orange worm and leaf fungus. Mite is a small insect that eats leaves off the almond tree, these leaves provide shade and protection to the nuts. Peach twig borer and navel orange worm are worms that attack the almonds and destroy the crop. Leaf fungus can kill the leaves and negatively impact this years and future years almond production. Because of this years drought we had poor mummy removal which created more worm habitats and survival through the winter. Now we have to spray to control these worms. The drought also makes mite infestations worse, mites thrive on lack of water and weak trees. Rust has become a problem due to late season rains and lack of rain during winter months. Fungus grows rapidly in warm, humid conditions that we are currently experiencing. A miticide is used to kill the mite, a insecticide is used to kill the worms and a fungicide is used to prevent the leaf fungus. The combination of these is used to…