Blue Diamond Almond Facts July-August 2022


Prepping and Planting Over the years, I have tried many things during planting to help get a good stand for when the bees arrive before almond bloom. There is one fundamental factor that takes precedent over all the other tips and tricks: Timing of cover crop planting. If I plant early in October, get a good germination, and keep things moving by watchful management,

so little water that cover croppers can piggyback on these last shots of irrigation. It serves as a time to capitalize on a practice that you already do (post-harvest irrigation) and use it for the next practice (cover crop germination and initial stand). You can take advantage of this irrigation for more than just one last drink for your almonds. If it’s your first year, and you have drip or micros, just wait until the first measurable rain, and try to capitalize on that for the first planting. I’ve planted just prior to the first measurable rain and had a good germination afterward, but I have also planted just after if the ground is just right. Catching the moisture at the right time after precipitation can work well in some contexts. Even a light spritz in orchards with higher total coverage by their irrigation systems can help the drill or implement place seed more strategically for the germination. Soil Preparation: In terms of prepping the soil in an almond system, it is my opinion that not much needs to be done, especially if you use a no-till drill. For any seed to be set well, a good seedbed with loose, fertile topsoil and little to no weed competition is ideal. Look no further than what you just did for harvest and post-harvest floor work! If you put a float down after harvest to smooth things out, in most cases your loose-soil, no-weed seedbed is ready for planting. Again, if you are broadcasting, a bit more could be done on the back end once the seed is cast, like the chain-link method mentioned earlier. The main point here is that almond growers are already primed most of the time for planting cover crop right after harvest because their orchards are already worked up and ready for this kind of practice . P Am is working diligently this year to get seed to your doorstep before October 1. We are also here to answer any questions you have about the process. We are here for your success. If we get this seed in at the right time, right mix, right rate, right place (sounds like a nitrogen management program!), grower, beekeeper, and bees create a win-win- win scenario. Let’s get to work.

I always have a successful cover crop stand before, during, and after bloom, which is the goal . — Rory Crowley

I can get consistently successful cover crop stands because I farm in the North up in Chico and have an irrigation system that has total coverage above 90%. This means that I can irrigate the middles where cover crop is planted. Some growers, however, especially those south of the Delta, may not be able to irrigate where they’ve seeded and they must rely on winter rains. In a drought cycle, this is tough, but we encourage seasoned cover croppers to try a new tactic this year if they’re on drip or micros. Water-Wetting Zone Tactic: If you are in the kind of a scenario where wetting patterns from drip or micros don’t go to the center of the drive row, try to plant a 3’–4’ strip of seed on your wetting pattern right after harvest, and then come back two weeks before a measurable rain is forecast to finish up in the middles. This will require an offset drawbar on a drill or planter, and/or may require some unique broadcasting, but it’s easy. Why are we encouraging you to plant on your wetting patterns this year ? The most basic answer is what has already been said, cover crop planted in early October will give you and bees the greatest chance for success. Secondly, most growers put on a post-harvest irrigation after harvest. To initiate the cover crop germination and early growth cycle requires



Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker