Though the final 2020 has not been tallied at the time of writing this article, the expectation is that final crop receipts should not fall far from the 3 billion-pound estimates. This volume, along with other global issues, not to be mentioned here, have contributed to softer pricing through the end of 2020 and into the new year. This constriction led many growers to face some tough decisions late in the 2020 season, and many growers backed off on nutrition inputs to balance their budgets.
Due to relatively uniform increases in production at the field level, many growers had difficulties meeting the nutritional demands of last year’s crop. Additionally, by backing off late in the season, they are now entering the 2021 crop season at disadvantage. These orchards are likely lacking in stored carbohydrates, stored nitrogen, and adequate nutrition to facilitate the physiological processes of bloom, root-flush, and early nut-set.
In the coming months, we can positively influence our crop performance with properly executed bloom sprays and our first application of soil-applied nutrition. The purpose of our bloom sprays should be to provide critical elements that will facilitate floral development, pollen transfer, embryo fertilization, cell division, and cell expansion.
Phosphorus provides energy for all metabolic processes in the forms of ADP and ATP. It is a critical element to support cellular division and growth. Because almonds bloom so early in the spring, soils can often be cool and wet which suppresses the mineralization of phosphorous from soil reserves.
Potassium is essential for translocation of carbohydrates and enzyme activation. It aids cell division processes and regulates the turgor pressure and transpiration activities of these newly developed cells.
Calcium, as a key component of cell walls, helps to bring structure to plant cells. Additionally, calcium is required for cell elongation and selective permeability through the middle lamella. This permeability encourages the movement of select ions into the cell while maintaining a barrier for those that will have a negative impact. This dual role of providing cell wall strength and permeability also plays a key role in biotic and abiotic stress reduction.
Boron supports cell maturation and the process of differentiation. Along with Calcium, boron plays a role in cellular integrity by promoting cell to cell adhesion. Proper cell to cell adhesion is critical as it facilitates translocation of carbohydrates to support metabolic activities and defend against pathogenic disease development. Boron is also directly implicated in its role to support pollen tube development.
Zinc is an enzyme (auxin) activator. It is required for node, and terminal leaf development. It is one of the nutrients that has the most direct impact on promoting healthy flowering and fruit/nut set. It is also the most common element along with phosphorous and iron that tends to be deficient early in the leaf-out stage of the crop season.
Notice in the intro we referenced the “first application of soil-applied nutrition”, and not the first nitrogen application. This was intentional as we need to remove the mental constraints that limit our focus to nitrogen only. Now there is considerable debate on how many nutrients should be considered “essential” though for our immediate purpose let’s use the most commonly reference number of 17 essential plant nutrients. Essential means that limitations of any one of these 17 elements can have a negative impact on plant health and crop performance. As we are doing with the MyAlmonds Program treatment at the Incubator Farm, we encourage you to begin addressing all crop demands and targeting our applications at the appropriate time to derive the maximum benefit and ROI.
Crop nutrition demand from bud swell to nut set for soil-applied nutrients
(check out the entire Nutrient Demand table w/ all crop stages here)
YaraVita® POWERBOR™ Ca: Supports cell development and strength
YaraVita® PENTAFLO™: Fuel for growth and stress mitigation
Petal fall or 2 weeks post petal fall
Leffingwell NUTRA-PHOS Zn-K PLUS: High P2O5 NPK blend fortified to support cell growth and regulation
YaraLiva® CAN-17™: Key role for 1st and last fertigation events during the growing season
With 40 acres of fertigated and established almonds, and 40 acres of irrigated and established walnuts, the Yara Incubator Farm in Modesto, California is a center for research, solution trials and knowledge sharing.