Greenhouse gas emissions from almond farming arise from field activities such as using fuel for field operations and irrigation water pumping. Crop management operations and harvesting also contribute to the carbon footprint. The manufacturing and use of nitrogen fertilizer can also add a significant amount to this footprint.
Studies from the University of California show that high-frequency fertigation of almonds with YaraLiva calcium nitrate-based fertilizers have lower nitrous oxide emissions from the soil compared with UAN or other ammonium-based fertilizer. 1,2
To meet the recommended application of 68 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 pounds of nuts, a switch to nitrate-based nutrition can benefit in additional ways too. Nitrate is the preferred source of nutrition for trees in the Rosacea plant family, including almonds. Additionally, nitrate fertilization avoids the undesirable soil acidification that inevitably occurs when fertilizing with ammonium or urea.
1 Schellenberg, D.L., Alsina, M.M., Muhammad, S., Stockert, C.M., Wolff, M.W., Sanden, B.L., Brown, P.H., Smart, D.R. Yield-scaled global warming potential from N2O emissions and CH4 oxidation for almond (Prunus dulcis) irrigated with nitrogen fertilizers on arid land. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 2012, 155, 7–15.
2 Wolff, M.W., Hopmans, J.W., Stockert, C.M., Burger, M., Sanden, B.L., Smart, D.R. Effects of drip fertigation frequency and N-source on soil N2O production in almonds. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 2016, 238, 67–77.