The Almond Board of Australia, with its signature sponsor Haifa held three workshops after the 2016 17th Australian Almond Conference with international guest speakers; Lance Beem, Blake Sanden and Dr Itamar Nadav.
The workshops were held on the 14th of November in Loxton, the 15th in Robinvale and the final in Griffith on the 16th. Each session was well attended with 118 attendees over the duration of the week. This article provides a summary of what each speaker presented, followed by a link to their presentations.
Beem Consulting/Beem AgroSciences Corp USA
Lance presented on plant hormones – how this correlates to situations in the orchard and how this can be affected by different macro and micro elemental application techniques. Emphasising that there is more than just the NPK applied. There are different stimulants that provide various outcomes to hormones produced. For example, if a stress event such as a heat wave or hail occurs, the tree releases ethylene, a stress hormone that causes oxidation. This can then be combated by applying an antioxidant product such as Seasol or Bio-forge which can slow this oxidation process down.
Blake Sanden (University of California, Kern County)
Blake presented a comprehensive comparison between Australia and California about water, salinity and the drought. Blake’s visit to Australia was made possible by HAIFA Australia and was introduced by Trevor Dennis as the ‘plumber’ for Dr Patrick Brown’s nutrition R&D trials. His advice to Australian growers was to know your cup; in other words, know your soil limits and capacity.
In some districts in California, it is possible to use less water through flood irrigation than through micro-sprinklers. In regard to the drought and depleting groundwater stocks, Blake is motivated to set up an exchange program with Australian growers to further extend our relationship and knowledge both ways. Australians have adapted their management practices to suit the conditions of this country resulting in high efficiencies, and California has the potential to learn a lot from our growers.
Dr Itamar Nadav
Dr Itamar Nadav was brought out to Australia by Netafim Australia and discussed with growers the work that Netafim has conducted on subsurface drip irrigation.
Fascinatingly in Israel subsurface irrigation is seen as a high advantage technique, as in Israel approximately 60% of irrigation water is waste water. Therefore using the soil as a barrier to stop cross contamination of the edible crop and reducing food safety risks.
Subsurface drip irrigation is all about efficiency and reducing the loss of water by evaporation. Hence, reducing the amount of water emitting to the surface is the goal. Again soil type is key, just like above ground; if the soil is a clay loam look for a lower dripper output and if the soil is sandy, a higher output is desired.