Blue Diamond Almond Facts March-April 2021

IN YOUR ORCHARD THE ALMOND BOARD Want Better Yields? Get Personal with Your Trees Managing orchards is a bit like marriage: It’s a long-term relationship. A mistake today could stay with you for a while, but care and attention to detail can pay benefits year after year. That’s the message Sebastian Saa, associate director of Agricultural Research at the Almond Board of California (ABC), wants to share with growers. “Everybody wants to have good yields, and that’s important,” Saa said. “But understanding how to read the tree, how to interact with the tree, is what leads to sustainable yields year after year.” That means paying attention to what the tree is telling you at each stage of growth, understanding what certain changes or circumstances mean and reacting appropriately. Reading your trees’ signals is particularly important under challenging conditions, as signals can help a grower determine if they need to adjust certain practices. Missing a signal from the trees — or misinterpreting it — could lead to the wrong decision when it comes to fertilization, irrigation or foliar sprays, Saa said. Misinterpreting your trees’ signals could also mean you’ll miss an opportunity for quality yields — not only this year but next year — because while the tree is currently producing this year’s crop, it’s also getting ready for next year. In each tree, branches’ fruit-bearing spurs are constantly changing — new ones being born, others bearing fruit, still others dying off. Identifying the different population of spurs in your tree, and what other key parts of the tree are up to, provides a wealth of important information to the grower, Saa said. In that regard, understanding and calculating your yield is a simple equation: the number of flowers by the percentage of fruit set multiplied by kernel weight: Yield potential = No. of flowers × % of fruit set× kernel weight But don’t let the simplicity of this formula fool you — the importance of your final count is hardly trivial. “The formula may be straight forward, but it’s implications are significant, especially if you can figure out how to manipulate the variables,” Saa said. In this article, we will focus specifically on kernel weight. For more information on the other two main factors, please visit or type “Optimal Yield Series” in the search bar at . 2 8 A L M O N D F A C T S