Skip to main content

Worries for the future

Almond harvest is just around the corner. Hull split is here and the countdown to harvest is officially on. Hull split is pretty early this year, about 2 weeks earlier than normal. Last year, we had hull split at the end of June and we thought it was pretty early then and this year is turning out to be even earlier than last year.  

Why are the nuts earlier? Well, with the drought getting worse and worse our trees are more and more water stressed. When the trees don't get enough water, they don't produce as well and could even die from too little or no water.

With the low amounts of water we have, irrigation is harder and harder to do effectively.  Our trees are being cut back. In fact, all farmers are cut back to a zero allocation of surface water from federal water projects. The state is implementing regulations to monitor groundwater pumping, an ever more necessary resource to agriculture production. With the threat of limiting our pumping from our own supply under our own soil, farmers are scared to know what they will have left to irrigate with.

So with all of the water problems farmers face this harvest has become exceptionally important for so many us. We must be able to harvest all we can and hope for good yields and prices. For many farmers, if the trees don't produce well they will have to taken out or just barely grown for the following year. Permanent crops are different than vegetable and field crops, we can't just stop irrigating them this year and plant a crop next year to make money. If we don't irrigate well this year, our trees will suffer and could die, which leaves us several years of recovery time to plant a new orchard or rehabilitate an existing.

With hull split starting our countdown to harvest, farmers are preparing for a harvest they hope will pay the bills and bring them some profit. Expenses are adding up more and more for farmers in times of drought. With increased water costs for decreased water supply it is getting harder and harder to predict the future of farming in California.


Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Almond varieties

Did you know there are over 30 different varieties of almonds grown commercially?! All have their own unique purpose, size, and shape. Most almond farmers, have multiple varieties in the same orchard, the most popular being nonpareil. Nonpareil is the prettiest almond, most widely produced and comes with the biggest return back to the grower. But we can't all farm nonpareils, they need to be pollinated somehow. Almonds typically need at least two varieties in an orchard because the almond flower cannot pollinate itself like other fruit trees can. We learned about that with the almond bloom and bee blog!! So we have pollinator varieties that complement other varieties and offer their own unique purpose. I am going to outline a few of the more widely grown varieties for you, but feel free to check out The Almond Board of California's full guide.


Nonpareil has the most uses and purposes of any other nut. It can be used in raw form, blanched, processed or anything you …

Almond by-products

When people think of almond uses they tend to just think of using the almond meat. Almonds have multiple by-products actually. When almonds are processed at the huller the almond meat is separated from the hull and shell. The hulls, shells and hash are also sold and used.

Almond hulls are the green out most layer of the almond while on the tree. The hull is what splits and starts the countdown to harvest. Once the almond has dried in the field, the hull also dries and begins to separate from the almond. At the huller, they remove the hulls and stock pile them until sold. Almond hulls are sold for animal feed, most commonly dairy feed. The hulls actually add nutrition to the animals diet and aid in healthy milk production. Growing up on my family's farm, we used the hulls to feed our breeding sheep. It was cheaper than grain, helped to add nutrition to the animal diet and while filled them up faster.

Almond shells are the hard layer between the hull and the almond meat. …

What fertilizers do almonds need?

It's spring and the almond trees are covered with shiny leaves and growing nuts. The trees are beautiful and full of new life. As they grow the 2016 harvest crop, they need fertilizer to help them grow. Fertilizer is like plant food or vitamins that give the trees a little extra boost. Just like you feed your garden fertilizer, your rose bushes plant food, or like how you take your daily vitamins, we feed our almond trees fertilizer.
We prefer the fertigation method to fertilize our trees through the water in our irrigation drip hoses. This helps us to be more efficient and effective in our fertilizer use. When we fertilize in the spring we use three different kinds of fertilizers; Nitrogen, Potassium and Zinc. It is like a farmers version of a a perfect vitamin combination.

Nitrogen is important to help encourage leaf growth and nut development. Nitrogen provides the building block to form protein and oils.  One of the key reasons you probably eat almonds is because they are high …