Demonstration project + Almond: High density plantations in almond tree crop
The almond production sector in Catalonia has evolved a lot in recent years. To be considered a traditional crop of dry land, to the current situation with irrigated crops, with varieties of late or extra-late flowering, intensive or super-intensive plantations, prices and consumption growing, etc., the truth is that the design and the current needs of almond farms have nothing to do with those of a few years ago.
That is why the sector needs new technical and management skills that are adapted to the new concepts of exploitation and this is where the demonstration projects that IRTA and the Department of Agriculture (DARP) are carrying out allow to be transferred the new technical knowledge in the sector in order to be able to solve the current needs.
The demonstration project + Almond aims to create an experimental network of high density almond plantations both in IRTA experimental stations and in reference commercial plantations.
The high density model consists of adjusting the planting frames and modify the structure of the tree in classic vessel to the axis or fruit wall, looking for precocity, mechanization, continuous collection and a rapid amortization of the invested capital.
According to the technique of IRTA, Marta Maldonado, the basic criteria in a high density plantation go through:
- Plant material. Varieties with high branching and fruiting capacity in may’s bouquet, or shoots (brindilles).
- Rootstock. Moderate or weak vigor (rootpac20, IRTA1, etc.) as they are looking for small dimensions to collect with over-the-row machinery.
- Frameworks plantation. Between rows of 3 to 3.5 meters and between trees 1 to 1.5 meters, to have 2,500 to 2,800 trees / ha.
- Formation system. Axis or wall fruit with mechanized management.
- Harvest. High density olive over-the-row machines modified for almond.
This demonstration project has an experimental network where companies of the sector (Ocean Almond SL, Agro Water Almond SA, Crisol Nuts y Unión Nuts) participate, as well as the IRTA Experimental Stations of Borges Blanques (Lleida) and Mas de Bover (Tarragona).