I am very excited about the 2012 pistachio year on our farm. We are using a new automation system (the first and currently only of its kind in the US) that will allow us to turn our valves, pumps, and filters on and off automatically; it will also enable us to write schedules that should help our efficiency and our productivity. I have taken a few pictures that show a pole that transmits a signal above our canopy and another picture of the valve box.
The valve box contains a large diaphragm valve that controls the flow of water to a specific part of the field. We beta tested the hardware and software after last year’s season and finished checking to make sure things were going to operate properly. Thanks to this system, I will be able to turn the valves on and off as well as monitor my progress from my iPad or computer.
We recently finished pre-irrigating our mature pistachio fields and have just finished pruning. The pre-irrigation makes sure that we have plenty of water for our trees when the season starts. Our cover crop of native grasses is coming up and looking great on our mature fields. We are installing a second drip line on our 6 year old trees this week and will pre-irrigate them this upcoming week. The young trees only need one drip line when they are starting out but as they grow more mature they require more water. The second line will also allow us to water the tree away from the trunk which will encourage the roots to continue to grow and develop away from the tree. I will take a picture this week of the six-year-old trees and our four-year-old tree to show you the difference in maturity. We are expecting a light year on our mature trees and our best year yet on our six-year-old trees and possibly our first harvest on our four-year-olds. Eat more American Pistachios!