College of Agriculture

Orchards

Using the orchards at the University Farm, students have an opportunity for hands-on instruction and are able to conduct applied research projects in cooperation with University of California Cooperative Extension, local growers, and various agricultural service companies. Besides producing a crop, the orchards find use in many of our College of Agriculture courses. Courses such as PSSC 366, fruit and nut production, and AGRI 490, agricultural experimental research, make extensive use of the orchards managed at the University Farm.

Currently, the farm has 70 acres of almonds, including a 30-acre almond variety trial in conjunction with the California Almond Board, University of California Cooperative Extension, and many nurseries. The variety trial was established in 2014 and includes more than 30 different varieties planted on Krymsk 86 rootstock. The farm's primary almond varieties are Non Pareil, Carmel, Winters, Peerless, Price and Sano.

Walnuts are planted on 75 acres with an additional 45 coming into production in the fall of 2018. The 45 new acres are planted on a clonal rootstock donated by Duarte Nursery and are part of a pruning trial conducted in coordination with the University of California Cooperative Extension. Primary walnut varieties include Chandler, Tulare, Forde, Solano, Franquette, and Sexton.

We also have 10 acres of pecans, 10 acres of high density olives for oil production, and a small U-Pick peach orchard that is open to the public during the harvest season.  All orchards are managed to provide a learning site for our instructional programs and use a state-of-the-art computerized irrigation control system.

Besides the opportunities associated with course related activities and applied research, students can apply to be on the orchard management team. These students work closely with the faculty and staff to manage the orchards and get to put into practice what they are learning in their courses.