Editor’s note: Spencer Cooper joined the Almond Board of California last fall as Senior Manager, Irrigation and Water Efficiency. Western Fruit Grower® caught up with him to pose a few questions.
Yours is a newly created position, to meet the objectives of the Accelerated Innovation Management program. What does that program entail? Almond Board of California has invested heavily in the area of water irrigation strategies and technologies that conserve water while optimizing almond production and tree health, as well as in ways to protect ground- and surface water from potential runoff or leaching of grower inputs. One of these investments is the Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum, a program to accelerate almond grower adoption of research-based, commercially available, and more water- efficient irrigation management and scheduling tools. Almond Board of California has led to the development of a comprehensive manual of irrigation management addressing five essential elements. Those five key areas include:
Estimating orchard water requirements based on evapotranspiration
Measuring irrigation system performance and efficiency
Determining the water applied
Evaluating soil moisture
Evaluating plant water status
We know that growers may be operating at different stages of irrigation efficiency and the Continuum provides information at three proficiency levels (1.0, 2.0 and 3.0).