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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Recommendations for Sustainable Water and Soil Management to Minimize the Impacts of Salinity on Grape Yield and Quality
2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Develop sustainable water management strategies for wine, table, raisin, and juice grape production using limited water supplies. 2. Develop sustainable water and soil management strategies for minimizing the impacts of drought and salinity on the root zone environment, grape yield and quality. 3. Quantify the effects of various water management strategies on fruit and product composition, and sensory qualities.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
This research will be conducted using both laboratory and field research sites. The field research will conducted in the Central Valley and Paso Robles, CA. Laboratory studies will be conducted at the U.S. Salinity Laboratory in Riverside, CA.


3.Progress Report

Increasing salinity of water supplies is of great concern to grape growers, as is the need to use water efficiently. The management of applying lower quality waters for irrigation requires knowledge of leaching requirements for salinity control as well as information on the most effective way to leach the soils. We are on schedule with completion of year one goals in the 5 year research plan. Two sites were located in the Central Valley and electromagnetic surveys were conducted to determine existing salinity patterns for optimal setting of the experimental plots. Over 300 soil samples were collected and analyzed for major dissolved ions and soil texture. We located the experimental plots, characterized the initial conditions in the vineyard plots and prepared the irrigation systems. The experimental treatments were implemented, with variable water applications and different irrigation systems (drip and sprinkler). We also transported approximately ½ ton of soil from one of the sites for additional container studies on infiltration response as related to combined rain and irrigation water applications. At the request of the industry cooperators we also located an additional site in the Coachella Valley (table grapes) with different soil types, climate and management to evaluate leaching strategies for salinity control for drip irrigation of grapes.

This research related to development of best practices for leaching salts from vines under drip irrigation, will contribute to develop new recommendations helping meet NP211 program and project Objective 1, Develop new knowledge and guidelines related to salinity and ion concentrations for the sustained use of degraded waters for irrigation. Results from this research is referenced in the main project. This research is of interest to wine grape and table grape producers irrigating in the western U.S., and is a joint project with several grape and wine associations.

Research plans and progress were monitored through on-site visits, emails and telephone conversations.


Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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