Whole Almond Orchard Recyling is A Next Generation Farming Practice
By Tim Hammerich with California Ag Today
The Almond Board of California recently announced their $5.9 million investment into next-generation farming practices. The Board is exploring some of these initiatives as they offer insights into challenges faced by California growers.
Josette Lewis, Director of Agricultural Affairs for the Almond Board of California, says one area these investments have really paid off recently has been in something called whole orchard recycling.
“This is when an orchard gets to the end of its life and the trees are taken out. They’re chipped and deep-ripped into the soil, and then disced over to put that entire orchard biomass, which is a huge amount of woody material, down into the soil…
“We’ve been doing research for quite a number of years that shows that that can improve soil quality: things like water holding capacity, and soil organic matter. It does not seem to pose a particular problem for replant disease or soil-borne pathogens. But very importantly, that research this last year paid off in terms of the California Department of Food and Agriculture has decided to include whole orchard recycling in their healthy soils incentive program.”
Lewis says this incentive program will provide dollars to help growers with the costs of recycling their orchards, which also gives them this benefit of healthier soils long term.