Why aren’t orchard crops grown in rice fields?

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California agriculture prides itself on being science based. There are many different crops grown in this state, all requiring a different management and delivery systems. During a rice plants maturing cycle the plant is susceptible to cool nightly temperature that can negatively affect the seed. Having the flooded field provides an insulating property to protect against that risk.

Conversely, a walnut tree is a deep rooted, which means the “drip line” or circumference of the tree canopy are filled with feeder roots down to 4 to 6 feet. The walnut tree likes to drink, but does not like to have its’ feet (roots) wet. Therefore, sprinkler irrigation which delivers water to the entire drip line of the tree is the most efficient and best way to irrigate. There are many crops with shallow and/or narrow root depths and widths that lend drip irrigation as a great option. However in the case of frost protection, some type of sprinkler or micro-sprinkler irrigation is necessary. The Sacramento valley has a large variation of soil types and lends itself well to a multitude of crops grown.