What is in this article?:
- For the 2020 goal, agriculture was not expected to directly contribute to GHG reductions, but to reach the 2050 goal, the plan proposes that greenhouse gas targets be set specifically for agriculture.
Almond Board–funded research over 40 years is providing information to model which practices reduce greenhouse gases or increase emissions through all stages of crop growth production.
Emissions data and fertigation. Work by Professor David Smart’s lab at UC Davis looks at how N2O emission and nitrate leaching rates are affected by changes in fertigation regimes. Among other things, the lab’s research is providing data on nitrous oxide emissions under different irrigation systems, different N sources and different frequencies of applications. Having real N2O emissions data rather than modeled data for an irrigated tree crop is rare. With the help of Almond Board of California funds, there is now data from three different locations.
DNDC model for almonds. The first draft of an almond-specific denitrification- decomposition (DNDC) model has been developed by Dr. Bill Salas and coworkers at Applied GeoSolutions. The DNDC model accounts for carbon and nitrogen use and emissions from the soil and plants. ARB has determined that the DNDC model is the most appropriate model to account for both carbon and nitrogen in production agricultural systems. A DNDC model for rice forms the basis for its draft protocol.
Almond life cycle assessment. Environmental engineering professor Dr. Alissa Kendall at UC Davis is researching greenhouse gas offset opportunities based on an almond life cycle assessment (LCA). The life cycle assessment research is providing a better understanding of the energy use and GHG emissions/sequestration related to propagating, growing, harvesting and hulling/shelling almonds over the 25-year life span of an almond orchard.
The LCA results indicate that most of the energy and GHG emissions in almonds are associated with water and nitrogen fertilizer. However, the use of almond by-products, such as prunings and tree removals, or feeding almond hulls to cattle, can substantially reduce the total greenhouse gas emissions from 25 years of growing an almond orchard.