Building Team Chemistry: The Bigger Picture Behind Cows & Climate
Animal Biology Graduate Student, UC Davis
California’s almond industry produces 80 percent of the world’s almonds and contributes $21 billion to the state’s economy. Currently, growers collect almonds after they fall to the orchard floor. To ensure food safety, however, the ground must be cleared of organic material that would contaminate the fruit. These harvesting techniques require synthetic fertilizers and additional water, creating extra costs for growers and depriving soil of essential nutrients
University of California, Davis researchers are testing mechanical advanced harvesting techniques that catch almonds before they fall, remove the hulls and shells and discard them on the orchard floor. These techniques use the almonds’ hulls and shells as organic matter fertilizer. Using the almond’s organic matter as fertilizer eliminates the need to clear the orchard floor and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers and additional water. This advanced harvesting technique can also protect the topsoil, preserve essential nutrients and reduce water use.
This research is critical to protecting soil health and scaling up almond production while preserving food safety.
Almond grower benefits
Researchers are examining advanced harvesting practices that improve soil health and ensure food safety. The research team is testing methods of catching almond fruit in above-ground mechanical frames that do not disturb topsoil and allow growers to use the hulls as fertilizer.
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