Planting wheat after Almond Orchards

Hello all,
After my visit to a farm in Los Banos, CA I learned a lot more about wheat as an incredible tool for Almond growers to help health the soil during crop rotation. This concept to plant wheat in almond orchards was new to me at that time, however, I asked the grower a lot of questions and he explained. He said. Almond orchard’s productivity cycle lasts for about 20-25 years. After that, they have remove the trees and let the soil rest before re-planting new orchards. That year I visited, we were looking at a wheat field planted over the mulched of almond trees. He then explained how he grew it. He planted wheat in November and irrigated the field once. He then irrigated the wheat field one more time in February. The field was ready to be harvested in May. I asked him, what about fertilizers? Nitrogen? He said: NONE! I am not going to apply any nitrogen because remember Claudia, he said, wheat is a low input crop and you do not make money with wheat. I was surprised and told him that I would love to check his protein levels/ and quality after harvest. He sent me three sub-samples from different areas of his field after harvest. The results? Astonishing. He planted variety WB9229. Protein content was over 13%, and quality you may ask? Excellent. Farinograph stability was more than 15 minutes (excellent for bread baking).

Here is a photo of the progress of his wheat throughout the growing season:


Thanks for sharing, Claudia! It’s interesting that almond growing in California has been getting some attention recently and not necessarily good. I’m thinking of the article this week in Civil Eats “Perilous Bounty” by Tom Philpott. Information that shares some hope is always great.

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Nate Siemens would be ace on this topic. Wish we could tag people LOL

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