Acadian Plant Health™ (APH) announced the first results of its California almond water use study, which offers promising news for tree nut growers and the almond industry in the drought-affected growing region.
In 2021, the University of California study found that applications of Acadian Organic were beneficial for reducing plant stress under limited water conditions, and that when used properly, seaweed-based biostimulants have the capability to help combat drought induced changes in plants. Both findings represent a significant boost for growers looking for sustainable agriculture solutions in the face of drought challenges.
“Acadian Plant Health is focused on delivering solutions that perform in the field and offer increased survivability and productivity for growers in challenging environments,” said Dr. Sarah Maude, Vice-President, Technology at Acadian Plant Health. “These trial results, which are fantastic news for growers, show that biostimulant treatments are a potential new way to aid growers in water management by increasing the plant system’s resiliency and reducing crop productivity losses due to stress – particularly where sustainable solutions to help crops thrive with limited water are key.”
Extension specialist Dr. Giulia Marino, along with her team at the 350-acre Kearney Agriculture Research and Extension Center, the University of California’s largest off-campus agricultural research facility, applied four treatments to selected almond trees. A weekly assessment of midday stem water potential (SWP) was performed, alongside the weighing of nut yield at harvest. Applications of Acadian Organic delivered significant improvements in SWP and increased tree water status in fully and deficit irrigated trees throughout the season, showing increased kernel weight, both fresh and dry. Trees less impacted by water stress showed improved productivity in the current year, and the research will continue to demonstrate the benefits of multiple years of applications of Acadian Organic.
Almonds are California’s top crop by value, and the state is home to more than 1.33 million acres of almond orchards. Water use is a hot topic of debate in the region, with the active water reduction program put in place by the local almond industry aiming to reduce water use by an additional 20% by 2025. Some of this will be accomplished by improving efficiency, however, irrigation water restrictions are a harsh reality for growers. Restrictions on water can lead to reduced plant growth and yield, leaving many growers looking for more sustainable ways to grow almonds with limited water.