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Deficit Irrigation in Strawberry Production to Minimize Environmental Impact

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2015 ASABE / IA Irrigation Symposium: Emerging Technologies for Sustainable Irrigation - A Tribute to the Career of Terry Howell, Sr. Conference Proceedings  .(doi:10.13031/irrig.20152145009)
Authors:   Bruk E. Belayneh, John D. Lea-Cox
Keywords:   Deficit irrigation, plasticulture, strawberry, sensor network, volumetric water content, water potential


Deficit irrigation is a water saving strategy that has the potential to be applied in plasticulture strawberry production. Greenhouse and field studies conducted on deficit irrigation of strawberries have reported significant increases in water-use, nutrient uptake efficiency, and fruit quality with some reduction in yield. However, there is a lack of information about the effect deficit irrigation has on growth, yield and fruit quality of strawberries grown in the plasticulture system. We are conducting a replicated field study to compare three deficit irrigation treatments with current standard practices (control). The deficit irrigation treatments are established based on the soil water potential, which is correlated to a specific volumetric water content based on water retention curve established for the soil. An advanced wireless sensor network system is used to impose the treatments based on real-time volumetric water content readings of soil moisture sensors. Soil moisture, electrical conductivity and irrigation water application volumes are recorded every 15 minutes by the control nodes for each treatment. Data on plant growth, fruit yield and fruit quality parameters will be collected and analyzed to identify optimum deficit irrigation levels that can be applied in plasticulture strawberry production.

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