Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Research Project #444019

Research Project: Insights into Regulated Deficit Irrigation on Apple Growth and Color Development

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Project Number: 8080-21000-032-038-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2023
End Date: Jun 30, 2026

The objectives for this project will be to: 1) establish two replication deficit irrigation (RDI) research trial locations in Washington in collaboration with grower and commercial cooperators for Fuji and Honeycrisp cultivars, respectively; 2) Utilize a data-driven approach to autonomous RDI implementation through sensory equipment; 3) Determine RDI treatment effects on fruit growth and color development as well as resulting fruit quality parameters (e.g., shape/size, firmness, cuticle thickness, soluble solids, acidity) to assess the efficacy of a data-driven approach to RDI for optimization of fruit quality; and 4) Estimate economic viability of data-driven RDI implementation for improved fruit quality and color development (contrast RDI economics with other color improvement strategies).

Objective 1: Two factors, water deficit and matric potential sensory depth, will be studied factorially at each location with four replicates. Objective 2: RDI implementation shall begin following fruit set and thinning activities. Objective 3: RDI viability of the autonomous approach to RDI implementation will be assessed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Objective 4: Benefit-cost analysis will utilize both observed and available data to compare economic benefits with economic costs of RDI implementation.