Tuesday, April 29, 2014

             Bob CurtisDanielle Veenstra, Robbie Commens
Today, Bob Curtis and Danielle Veenstra of the Almond Board of California hosted several farm visits for Robbie Commens, Productivity Development Officer of the Australian Macadamia Society. His intent is to find practices used in almond production that might apply to macadamias. I found it very interesting to hear of their production challenges. He stated that the California Almond industry is admired worldwide for our nutrition and production research and our information transfer to the farm level. He is right, we're the best!
No Easy Task

Recently a heavy disk loosened the soil. Here, Ernesto is doing some skilled tractor driving to scrape the soil flat behind the disk. He had to deal with sideways drift of the scraper due to side-fall on the hillsides.

Eduardo is following the scraper with our heavy roller to push the cobbles down into the soil and create a flat surface. The roller will be used repeatedly because cobbles tend to "float" to the surface as the clay in the soil expands and contracts with moisture.
The end product is a flat surface that is satisfactory for nut farming. Rock removal will be an enduring project on this land. In this picture you can clearly see that we are dealing with different soil types. Unfortunately, cobbles are characteristic of both soils.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This is Alex McCloud of Band It Spreading Service. He is a local entrepreneur who designed a machine to place precise amounts of dry fertilizers around the base of young trees. The steady growth of the tree fruit and nut industries has kept his small fleet of machines busy for many years.

We used to scatter fertilizer in young trees by hand, but the scarcity and cost of labor created an opportunity for Alex. Here he is scattering fertilizer at the base of each tree. He also has machines that will place the fertilizer in bands at the tree base. Our next irrigation will dissolve the fertilizer and carry it into the root zone.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Almond orchards provide habitat for many species of wildlife. Here is a dove nest in the crotch of a tree. Did you know that doves mate for life and have a life span of up to 10 years?