WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION IN CRANBERRIES THROUGH IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT
Location: New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Laboratory
Project Number: 1915-13000-001-00
Start Date: Jan 15, 2010
End Date: Aug 31, 2013
1) To quantify the hydrological system function at various scales in order to predict and assess the efficacy of new management practices; quantify the impacts of innovative practices at field, farm and watershed scales; predict the fate and transport of nutrients and pesticides; and provide a better understanding of the roles of climate, soils and management in cycling of these contaminants.
2) To develop economical and environmentally sound irrigation and drainage management tools, practices, and technologies that conserve water and protect regional water resources and supplies, and foster safe nutrient and pesticide strategies based upon improved knowledge of the function of wetlands and vegetated waterways.
Research will be conducted in collaboration with University of MA-Amherst scientists at the UMass Cranberry Station in East Wareham, MA and with USDA-ARS scientists in Madison, WI. The overall goal is to enhance the productivity and profitability of the cranberry production system to meet the needs of cranberry producers; the demands of consumers for nutritious, safe, and affordable fruit; and the desire of the general public to protect the environment. Time-domain reflectometry and other measurement techniques will be used for measuring soil water availability for a range of applicable soils, cranberry cultivars, and drainage management practices. Irrigation systems that incorporate real-time measurements of soil water availability with automated irrigation applications across the same ranges of relevant soils, cultivars, and management practices will be evaluated for their impacts on yield, water use efficiency, and pesticide/nutrient losses. These systems will be integrated with existing automated systems already in place for linking temperature and irrigation for frost protection. Existing and new cultivars and IPM practices under development at both the East Wareham, MA and Madison, WI locations will be incorporated into the study design. Vegetated waterways and filter strips will be evaluated for their efficacy in reducing pesticide and nutrient losses. This research will be integrated with research conducted by UMass and Madison collaborators in plant nutrition, weed management, entomology, pathology, physiology, fertility, and plant breeding to enhance the overall sustainability of cranberry production systems.