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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Improved Tracking of Transpiration Coefficients in California Specialty Crops

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of the project is to improve water use efficiency in field crop production in the Salinas Valley utilizing remote sensing technology. Data on crop yield and efficacy of control of soilborne diseases will be evaluated as well.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Accurate estimation of crop water demand supports efficient irrigation scheduling, which in turn provides a number of benefits including surface water conservation, mitigation of groundwater depletion/degradation, and energy savings. Recent research in California using highly precise weighing lysimeters reveals strong relationships between canopy development and productive water use (transpiration) in specialty crops. This study will establish several trials to compare irrigation scheduling based on these research findings with current industry standard-practice, which tends to rely on more subjective criteria and often involves over-irrigation. Evaluation will occur with respect to water use and crop value (yield, quality). Remote imaging will be explored as a convenient tool for monitoring /mapping canopy cover and crop water demand at field level. The project will enable to growers to better utilize the state’s existing CIMIS data network for improved water use efficiency.


3.Progress Report:

The agreement was established in support of objective 1 of the in house project, the goal being to optimize delivery and evaluate performance of chemical, cultural, biological, and genetic alternatives to methyl bromide for crops/pathogen combinations currently benefiting from the use of methyl bromide. A lettuce field trial at the USDA-ARS Spence Road farm has just been completed and the data is currently being analysed. The broccoli trial will be completed in the Fall.


Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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