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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Crops Pathology and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #438878

Research Project: Development of a Low-Cost and Accessible Evapotranspiration (ET) Toolkit for Irrigation Management of Almonds and other Woody Tree Crops

Location: Crops Pathology and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2032-21220-008-042-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 1, 2020
End Date: Dec 31, 2022

Specific project objectives are: (1) to expand the scientific knowledge developed by the GRAPEX program into a much fuller understanding of water management opportunities for almonds and other woody perennial crops including the incorporation of novel methods to improve stress detection related to crop carbon capture; (2) to refine and validate the ensemble of evapotranspiration (ET) models used for almonds; and (3) to train practitioners on use of the tool.

We will install a flux tower(s) in a commercial almond orchard(s) containing a variable irrigation system in order to ground truth ET data resulting from remotely sensed data. Similar to our efforts with the GRAPEX project, we will use a variety of models and sensors to take continuous measurements of ET and will combine these with campaign style measurements of stress physiology at leaf and whole canopy scales. These measurements will coincide with satellite overpass at several points throughout the growth season. Results of these ground truth efforts will be used to fine tune the Alexi/DisAlexi ET model (Developed by Co-PIs), which is embedded within the OpenET ensemble of models, for the specifics of tree canopy energy balance properties. We will work closely with industry stakeholders to assure adoption of the new ET toolkit, specifically holding workshops at the annual Almond conference that attracts more than 4000 growers each year.