Amendoal Sequeiro

Organic Non-Irigated Almonds

This project arose from the will of two separate entities that came together!


Agro Water Almonds (AWA) is an almond company based in Lérida, Spain. At the moment, AWA already owns about 1,000 hectares of planted almonds in Spain. Since 2021 it has expanded its activity in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal.  One of the company's principles is to opt for an agriculture that, using new technologies, will enable a more rational use of resources, namely hydraulics and energy. At this moment, AWA intends to install a Organic Non-Irigated Almonds on a plot of about 15ha in Ladoeiro, Idanha-a-Nova. 
Food4Sustainability CoLab (F4S), as a collaborative laboratory that aims at sustainable intensification of food systems and healthy eating, has the knowledge and key technologies to support the design and development of this initiative, through its technical and scientific team and its extensive network of partners. In this sense, F4S has elaborated the present action plan in order to cover the different phases of the initiative's development, aiming for a medium and long-term collaboration that synergistically combines the objectives of both entities. 

During the execution of the project, regenerative practices will be tested, aiming to establish adequate conditions for plant nutrition and protection by improving soil function, with particular focus on its microbiome.

It is intended that plot fulfils two main purposes:

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Demonstration of agricultural practices
to be replicated on other plots, improving sustainability.
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Produce Almonds Organically
take advantage of the greater valorisation of this product.
 

Activities

1) Study, planning and initial implementation of an intensive non-irrigated almond tree in organic production mode

 

2) Replication of the practices tested, depending on the results, improving the sustainability of the farm;

3) Monitoring and continued technical support.

1) Study, planning and initial implementation of an intensive non-irrigated almond tree in organic production mode;

The area contemplated for planting is about 15ha and will initially be subject to the following interventions:

  • Division of the plot into two test areas

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installation following the planting orientation of the remaining almond trees
installation following planting design in keylines
  • Planting of natural barrier between this plot and the conventional production plots

  • Setting up almond trees in organic farming

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Cobertura do Solo
land preparation 
infrastructure installation 
planting almond trees and
ground cover
  • Testing regenerative practices, aiming at establishing adequate conditions for plant nutrition and protection through the improvement of soil function, with particular focus on its microbiome.

✔ The Keyline system is a method whose primary objective is to improve soil structure and fertility by increasing water retention and redistribution

✔ Keylines maximize the use of water in planting areas by acting as barriers in higher (typically drier) areas and prolonging the time it takes for the soil to absorb water. 

✔ In addition, Keylines also reduce the velocity of surface water runoff, reducing the amount of soil loading and slowing down water erosion processes.

Seeding of the coating has the objective of increasing and preserving the organic matter and biological activity of the soil, in order to increase its fertility and thus reduce the application of fertilizers (especially nitrogen).  

 

✔ It will also increase water retention capacity, reducing erosion.

 
 

2) Replication of the practices tested, depending on the results, improving the sustainability of the farm;

This pilot project aims to:


✔ implement a plot as a demonstrator of intensive rainfed almond trees in organic mode;
✔ experiment with regenerative practices that can later be replicated on other plots;
✔ to consolidate practices, in order to maximize the function of the soil as a basis for the adequate development of the orchard until it reaches full production

 

2) Replication of the practices tested, depending on the results, improving the sustainability of the farm;

This pilot project aims to:


✔ implement a plot as a demonstrator of intensive rainfed almond trees in organic mode;
✔ experiment with regenerative practices that can later be replicated on other plots;
✔ to consolidate practices, in order to maximize the function of the soil as a basis for the adequate development of the orchard until it reaches full production

✔ extend these regenerative practices to other plots, where improving soil function is a priority

 

3) Monitoring and continued technical support;

The third phase of this project aims at the continued monitoring of the plot with regard to soil function, the performance of the orchard and its other elements (biodiversity barriers, row and inter row covers), and the main ecosystem services (soil function, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, efficient water use).

In this phase, it is also essential the monitoring and comparative analysis of climate impacts on different systems and modes of production, in order to support decision making to improve the sustainability (economic, social, environmental) of productions and the response to climate change, including combating desertification. 

Given the greater stability of the orchard, it will be possible (with greater precision) to identify climatic and phytosanitary risks early and to implement more adequate preventive and corrective measures, reducing the risks associated with this activity.

To monitor

soil water content

3) Monitoring and continued technical support;

The third phase of this project aims at the continued monitoring of the plot with regard to soil function, the performance of the orchard and its other elements (biodiversity barriers, row and inter row covers), and the main ecosystem services (soil function, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, efficient water use).

In this phase, it is also essential the monitoring and comparative analysis of climate impacts on different systems and modes of production, in order to support decision making to improve the sustainability (economic, social, environmental) of productions and the response to climate change, including combating desertification. 

Given the greater stability of the orchard, it will be possible (with greater precision) to identify climatic and phytosanitary risks early and to implement more adequate preventive and corrective measures, reducing the risks associated with this activity.

To monitor

soil water content

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it is intended to install humidity sensors.  ​​

soil water erosion 

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permitindo avaliar qual dos sistemas de plantio está a contribuir para uma maior redução da perda de solo

allowing to evaluate which of the planting systems is contributing to a greater reduction in soil loss

soil collectors will be installed along the plots.

To ensure greater accuracy in the early identification of risks and implementation of the most appropriate preventive and corrective measures will be carried out:

permitindo avaliar qual dos sistemas de plantio está a contribuir para uma maior redução da perda de solo

✔ FQ analyses, the soil microbiome and soil mesofauna

which will allow establishing the baseline of soil fertility and health, for selecting the best practices and management throughout the growth, establishment and production of the almond tree. 

permitindo avaliar qual dos sistemas de plantio está a contribuir para uma maior redução da perda de solo

✔ comparative analysis of different production systems and modes

in order to support decision making that improves the sustainability of productions and the response to climate change

For further information

Ana Rita Silva

By-product valorization & management specialist

ana.silva@food4sustainability.org

Claúdia Costa

Operations Researcher

claudia.costa@food4sustainability.org​​


Organisation

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