Drip Irrigation Problems in Almonds

The seven color image above shows a classified aerial image of an almond field in California. The trees in this field were mature trees except for a square in the southeastern corner of the field that had been re-planted recently.
       The grower discovered two problems in this field:
1) The image showed the western third of the field to have a lighter overall appearance with a distinctive line across the field. The lighter color represents a relative weaker stand or less vegetation in this part of the field compared to the rest if the field. The cause of this has been identified as low pressure in the drip irrigation line due to an obstruction or the length of the line. The water source is on the east side of the field. By the time the water reaches the west side of the field the pressure has dropped below the required pressure for adequate irrigation.
2) The image also showed two areas with significant weaker vegetation on the western end of the field compared to the rest of the field. These areas were identified as having a high saline content. The grower had noticed some differences in these areas in the field, but was not aware the areas to be this large.
       By catching the irrigation problem early, the grower was able to increase the profitability of this field for the current year. In addition, an application of gypsum could correct the problem spots on the western side of the field to increase profitability of the field even more.

Download printable version