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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Regulated deficit irrigation reduces water use of almonds without affecting yield


A plant-based regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) experiment in the northern Sacramento Valley determined that crop consumptive water use and irrigation could be reduced without significant detrimental effects on almond production. Tree stress was measured by recording midday stem water potential, a direct measure of tree water stress. With a water stress level of −14 to −18 bars during the hull-split period, average annual water savings were about 5 inches. Over 5 years, no significant yield reductions were observed, although average kernel weight was slightly lower. The results suggest that water savings can be achieved without affecting yield, even in soils with low water-holding capacity.

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