The end

I sold my propierties at a modest gain after having been a part time farmer for 15 years. The Internal Return Rate of my investment and work was 22%. Production (mainly grapes) represented half of the final return. Agricultural subsidies and the capital gain contributed similarly to the other half. I wish good luck to … More The end

Real yields

I have recorded yields of Lauranne variety for 7 years. Production is negligible from year one to year four. An hectare with 123 trees produces an average of 20 kilos of almond kernel in year five, 82 kilos in year six and 210 kilos in year seven. This data may fit a logistic curve. According to the model, the orchard reaches … More Real yields

Field bindweed

A weed is a plant that grows in the wrong place. Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) is described as a serioius weed. That may be the case for many crops, but this is certainly not the case for mature almond orchards in dry-land. In fact, this is a beneficial plant in my agricultural system. Field bindweed is … More Field bindweed

April pruning

April is not a very demanding month in the orchard. Nonetheless, a quick check to the trees provides valuable information, which can be used to perform two easy and effective practices. The practices consist of removing undesired shoots and controlling caterpillars. April check also tells you about the crop to be expected. You can see … More April pruning

Summer pruning

Some people say that pruning should be carried out during winter dormancy, but my experience shows me that it can be done at any time. I practice pruning from June to August either for young or mature almond trees. Summer pruning is very useful for training young trees and making them stand the wind. For … More Summer pruning


I have planted a new orchard in a field with erosion problems. The soil is vulnerable to water erosion due to a combination of slope and clay in the subsoil. Heavy rains had created rills and soil was carried away year after year. The good news is that this problem is confined to two low points where … More Erosion

Insects management

Orchards host living communites of insects. Some are beneficial, other detrimental and many others may or may not have have any effect. April and May are key times when you can affect insect populations by applying insecticices. My strategy is based on sustainability in its most practical sense (money). Using insecticides on a systematic way … More Insects management