In the last few months our Davis team has been providing technical assistance to help two almond growers develop a hedgerow plan and also a cover crop plan. We are working with NRCS to develop the cover crop mixes, timing, kill down method and management on prunings. Rex Dufour designed a hedgerow plan, and we plan to help with planting in mid-November. On September 17, Marisa Alcorta, Rex Dufour, and our new intern Emma Koefoed traveled down to visit the farmers and took soil samples to get a baseline for soil organic matter in both of the orchards. We’ll take another sample next year to see how the cover crops have changed the soil.
Very few of the Spanish speaking almond growers use cover crops, so these will be a model for the community. Roberto Perez and Elias Cosio, multi-generation almond growers, will showcase their cover crops and hedgerows in April 2014 at our “Orchard Floor Management” workshop to be held in Modesto, CA, in conjunction with NRCS. This project is supported by a Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Project Grant through USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in partnership with University of California-Berkeley.