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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

2013 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 California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) data network for improved water use efficiency.

3. Progress Report:
This agreement was established in support of objective 2 of the parent project, the goal being to develop molecular diagnostic tools for the identification of emerging diseases of vegetables and strawberry, and use these tools in the development of management strategies as alternatives to methyl bromide. A second trial with lettuce was just completed and the second broccoli trial will be started shortly. Data from last season's trials have been analyzed and indicate that watering rates below standard grower practices can be used without an adverse effect on yield.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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