Farmers in the Sacramento Valley have battled through profound drought impacts this year, with hundreds of thousands of acres left idle. Through all the struggle, they have persevered, and many are either finishing up harvests (with crops including almonds, tomatoes, and wine grapes), or preparing to start with others (including rice and walnuts).
Looking ahead, while everyone in our region hopes for some much-needed relief with a wet fall and winter to fill reservoirs, there are steps growers can take to help ensure the best results, regardless of what Mother Nature eventually provides.
The need for efficiency has never been greater for those farming in California. Growers and PCAs understand, during the long haul, focusing on nutrition is an effective strategy, regardless of the water outlook. To that end, calcium and potassium are key elements for healthy soil and strong plants. I’m working with our ag retailers on viable options for almond, walnut, grape and pistachio growers to employ. The foundation of this plan includes calcium to strengthen plants, through cell development and growth. Potassium is also needed to boost carbohydrate storage for next year.
In a normal year, which we seemingly haven’t had for quite some time, growers often incorporate gypsum in the ground and rely on rain to irrigate it in, then slowly make it available for the plants the following season. We feel a better approach in an uncertain water year is to finish the season with calcium and potassium, then, in the early season and summer, carefully target some in-season nutrient delivery.
To achieve this, we anticipate products including Mainstay™ Calcium, Rx Platinum™, H-85™ and Rootex™. Fortunately, in many cases, relatively small amounts of these products incorporated this fall and next spring can provide a solid nutritional foundation, while bearing in mind an ultimate objective- putting growers in the best position for a strong return on investment.
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