Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Water Management Research » Research » Research Project #443602

Research Project: Almond-Alfalfa Intercropping in Young Orchards for Profitability and Sustainability (Kearney Ag)

Location: Water Management Research

Project Number: 2034-21500-001-002-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 1, 2022
End Date: Jan 31, 2025

To support Co-PIs establish field research trial at UC-ANR KARE using the proposed experimental design, manage the field plots for production of almonds and alfalfa with and without intercropped alfalfa, measure canopy size and plant stress using drone areal imagery and analysis. Evaluate tree canopy size, orchard microclimate, trunk diameter, leaf N, and variations in leaf macro- and micro- nutrients and natural abundances of 15N and host field days to disseminate project results to growers and at regional and national conferences.

Establish new almond orchard with research plots to include (i) intercropped alfalfa with flood irrigation, (ii) intercropped alfalfa + flood irrigation + last harvest residues left as green manure, (iii) almond with bare alleys + flood (iv) control, almond with bare alleys no flood treatments arranged in a randomized block design with three replications. Over two years, approximately eight alfalfa harvests will be collected for yield and forage quality analysis. Tree growth, and nutrition will be monitored to determine if alfalfa and/or flooded alleys enhance tree health and robust root systems. Estimation of canopy size, vegetation indices, and canopy temperature for almond and alfalfa using light interception and drone-based methods will be done. Tree nitrogen will be quantified using leaf tissue analyses. Cooperator PI will oversee drone areal imagery and image analysis in accordance with project plans. Senior Research Associate will work under Cooperator PI’s supervision to conduct analyses, communicate with the project team, synthesize results, and disseminate project outcomes at field days and conferences.