March/April 2022 - 23

SUSTAINABILITY
A brief background
The idea of WOR began as a mere seed in the early 1990's
with Brent Holtz, University of California Cooperative
Extension (UCCE) county director and farm advisor for San
Joaquin County. When met with the need to find a tree
removal solution for his own family farm, Holtz remembered
the garden clippings mulch he would make with his father and
the regenerative effects that it had on his own trees. From that
idea grew the concept and initial first trials of WOR.
As he continued to observe results with his own orchard,
Holtz expanded observations into a full-blown commercial
trial with more farms within his community.
The benefits
When implementing WOR, the results were positive
overall. Research led by Holtz and conducted by UCCE
reported significant benefits in soil quality, water
use efficiency, and crop yields in comparison to the
conventional methods of tree removal.
Soil structure improvement
Soil allows plants to produce food and fiber, it's a vehicle
for nutrients, it provides stability and support for roots,
and it helps filter out potential pollutants. When growers
have healthy soil, they dramatically improve the odds for a
healthy orchard.
During several long (nine years) and short term trials of
WOR, the UC trials found increases and improvements in
total soil carbon (long-term trials +58%, short-term trials
+22-30%), soil nitrogen (long-term trials +17%), organic
matter (long-term trials +42%), and soil water holding
capacity (long-term trials +32%) after the chipped biomass
was fully incorporated into the orchard soil.
Efficient water-use potential
The harsh reality is that water resources are limited. The
Almond Board of California identifies several factors that work
against the state's own water supplies like sustained population
growth, lower-than-average rainfall, and a thin snowpack from
recent years. Because of this, it's imperative to find solutions
that help farmers manage water resources optimally.
With the improved soil quality findings from the UC trials
came an increase in water use efficiency and tree resilience,
as well as long-term shifts in infiltration rate (+200%) and
soil aggregation (+19%).
Overall increase in cumulative yield
With the benefits of healthy soil and optimal water use
comes the question of how it affects orchard yield. Coupled
with a regular nitrogen (N) and irrigation regime, secondgeneration
almond orchards found an overall positive
outcome (up to 20%) in yield.
However, regular nitrogen application is easier said
than done. When Louie Tallerico of the Tallerico Family
Partnership was asked by UC Davis about WOR a few years
back, he said, " Trying to figure out nitrogen application
Wood chips spread by Fowler Brothers
Farming in Waterford, California.
Photo: Brent Holtz/University of California
NATIONALNUTGROWER.COM 23
http://www.NATIONALNUTGROWER.COM

March/April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March/April 2022

March/April 2022 - 1
March/April 2022 - 2
March/April 2022 - 3
March/April 2022 - 4
March/April 2022 - 5
March/April 2022 - 6
March/April 2022 - 7
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/may-june-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/march-april-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/january-february-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/november-december-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/september-october-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/july-august-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/may-june-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/march-april-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/january-february-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/november-december-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/september-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/july-august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/may-june-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/march-april-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/january-february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/winter-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/fall-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/summer-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/winter-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com