Submitted to: Proceedings California Plant and Soil Conference Farming in Crisis
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 5, 2005
Publication Date: February 1, 2005
Citation: Bryla, D.R., Gartung, J.L., Trout, T.J., Johnson, R.S., Ayars, J.E., 2005. Drip irrigation improves potential profits for growing peach. California Plant and Soil Conference Proceedings. 111-115. Technical Abstract: Many older peach orchards in California are irrigated by flood systems such as basins and furrows, while newer orchards are irrigated primarily by pressurized systems such as microsprays and drip. Growers using flood systems apply irrigations 1-2 times per month, while those using microsprays typically irrigate weekly. Drip irrigation is often applied daily. A 3-year study was done to compare the costs and benefits of using these various irrigation systems for mature, full-bearing peach trees. Trees were irrigated weekly or bi-weekly by furrow, weekly by microsprays, or daily by surface or subsurface drip. Surface drip treatments had one lateral per row, while subsurface drip treatments had one, two, or three laterals per row. Both surface drip and subsurface drip with two or three laterals increased growth and production and improved water use efficiency in peach compared to trees irrigated by more traditional furrow or microspray systems. In terms of profitability, however, surface drip was clearly the best system for irrigating the trees because it consistently produced high marketable yields and had the lowest installation and maintenance costs. Though only one line of surface drip tubing was used per row in our study, it may be prudent to use two laterals per row for commercial production to reduce risks of excessive water stress during irrigation system failures.