Agricultural News

Almond Production

Introduction and Importance:

Almond (Prunus amygdalus) is one of the important stone fruit grown in Pakistan. It is also included in nuts according to its usage. It is very delicious with high nutritional value because of its oil contents. Almond is a high value crop and one of the most non-perishable nut fruit. When dried it can easily be kept for a year or even more. Its market demand is always there. Previously, it was grown mainly in Baluchistan province. However, with the introduction of early ripening varieties, this has now become possible to grow the crop in comparatively dry areas of Pothwar tract where ever soil irrigation is available. Almond nuts have a great value both from consumer as well as from grower side. One of the main reasons being its limited production sites. However, with the identification of new varieties, crop can be grown on vast areas of Pothwar tracts. Hence, its production is likely to increase. Above all being non-perishable nut, has great export potential. It can be exported as a dried nut as well as in form of presentable, attractive packs of roasted kernels to Middle East and Europe markets.

Varieties:

  • NWFP: Jordonala, Non Parral, Mission, Utra
  • Balochistan: Ktha, Kaghzi, Quetta Selection

Sowing, Planting and Growth:

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  • Suitable age of nursery plant for transplanting: 1 to 1.5 years
  • Time for Transplanting: Jan. and Feb.
  • Time to start of bearing: 3-4 years
  • Time to full production: 5-6 years
  • Normal economic bearing life: 10-15 years
  • Time of annual flowering: Feb. & Mar.
  • Time of harvest: Sept. to Oct.

Pits should be prepared in Nov./Dec. 1-2 months before transplanting. Almonds are self-sterile and therefore farmers need to plant one pollinizer per 10 fruit trees in the orchard. The pollinizer will be a different variety to the main crop so that it will fertilize the flowers of the main crops. Farmers should have technical guidance to select the pollinizers. Pollinizers should be spread uniformly through the orchard. Planting should be on a square pattern.

  • Spacing 6.5 x 6.5 m (20 x 20)
  • Trees per acre 109 tree/acre

Pruning:

Heading back:

Immediately after transplanting, plants are headed back to a height of 45-50 cm. The tree should be left with 3-4 well spread branches as a frame on which to train/shape the trees to a modified leader system.

Annual Pruning:

One year old wood is pruned each year in Dec./Jan. when tree is completely dormant.

Thinning:

This is only necessary if the tree is too heavily loaded. An indication of this is when branches are weighed down with the fruit and liable to break. Thinning should not be more than 20% of fruit. Thinning will improve the quality of fruit. It can be done mechanically through shaking, by hands, with sticks or applying chemicals.

Intercropping:

Intercropping is possible when trees are young, upto 3-4 years old. Berseem, and onion are suitable intercrops. Excessive irrigation of intercrops may harm the fruit trees.

Water Management:

  • Annual waster requirements 300-400 mm.
  • Rooting depth: 2 to 2.5 m.
  • Allowable depletion of soil water in the root zone: 30%
  • Range of application depth of water 75-80 mm
  • Irrigation intervals: 10-15 days.

Growth periods most sensitive to water shortages are flowering (Feb & Mar) and fruit development (April, May and June). The preferred method of irrigation is a basin around each tree the size of the canopy above. There should be channels connecting the basins so that irrigation of the trees scan be independent of the intercropped area between. the season for this is that the trees and the intercrops require different amounts of water.

Fertilizers and Manures:

  • Apply FYM around each tree at rate of 15-30 kg/tree. each winter season (Dec. to Jan.)
  • Apply 3 kg SSP and 1 to 1.5 kg Urea per tree before flowering S(Dec. to Jan.) Irrigate immediately to incorporate fertilizer.
  • 1 to 1.5 kg Urea per tree should best applied after fruit setting and before fruit attains 50% size (April to May). This should be immediately incorporated through irrigation.

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