Sustainable California with Almonds: Advancing the SDGs

A recent article published in “Food Ingredients 1st”, quotes: “The California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) shows that more than 70% of almond orchards report using water-saving micro-irrigation systems and more than 80% of growers report using demand-based irrigation in their orchards, which means they monitor weather, soil moisture and the trees themselves to determine exactly when and how much to irrigate, rather than watering on a pre-determined schedule”. In addition, Stacey Humble, Vice President of Global Marketing at the Almond Board of California is quoted as saying: “Efficient water use and irrigation management are vital to almond growers. Innovative farming and production developments over the past two decades have helped almond growers reduce the amount of water they use per pound of almonds grown by 33%.”

Goal 2

What could be more relevant than drip irrigation to advancing UN SDG Goal Number 2, that aims to promote and improve sustainable agricultural practices? Our experience in California and in other almond growing countries such as Australia has been that farmers gain improved orchard management, at least 25% higher average yield of almonds and more than 30% water savings versus traditional flood irrigation methods. More than 600,000 acres of California almonds are irrigated with Netafim micro-sprinklers and driplines. Apparently, California farmers recognize a good thing when they see it.

Soil and water conditions vary greatly in California, particularly with the expansion of almonds into ground that was once considered unusable. At Netafim, we match drip technology to meet the needs of individual farmers, offering different drip technologies to meet specific farming conditions. For example, almonds grow best with low humidity, and our double-line heavywall dripline systems helps avoid up to 20% nut loss from humidity-induced disease in parts of the orchard.

As our own John Vikupitz, President of Netafim USA, comments: “Already in use by many farms across California, drip irrigation has long been recognized for water efficiency. It is technologies such as drip irrigation that give farmers greater control of water use and a better understanding of the relationship between water use and crop yield.”

Almond Orchard in Bloom

Drip irrigation supports the achievement of SDG Goal Number 2 in all of its elements – enabling efficient production of nutritious food to end hunger while promoting climate-smart agriculture. Irrigation is not just about water, it’s about prosperity.

Read more posts in our “Advancing the SDGs” series.

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