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Title: Reduction in a commercial potato irrigation schedule during tuber bulking in Florida: Physiological, Yield, and Quality effects

item BYRD, SETH - University Of Florida
item ROWLAND, DIANE - University Of Florida
item BENNETT, JERRY - University Of Florida
item ZOTARELLI, LINCOLN - University Of Florida
item WRIGHT, DAVID - University Of Florida
item Alva, Ashok
item NORDGAARD, JOHN - Farmer

Submitted to: Journal of Crop Improvement
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2014
Publication Date: 8/29/2014
Citation: Byrd, S.A., Rowland, D.L., Bennett, J., Zotarelli, L., Wright, D., Alva, A.K., Nordgaard, J. 2014. Reduction in a commercial potato irrigation schedule during tuber bulking in Florida: Physiological, Yield, and Quality effects. Journal of Crop Improvement. 28: 660-679.

Interpretive Summary: Optimal irrigation is critical for high yields of high quality potato. In the interest of water conservation, it is necessary to evaluate the extent of reduced irrigation with no negative effect on tuber yield and/or quality. This study was conducted in Florida using a chipping potato variety "Frito Lay". The deficit irrigation (DI) evaluated in this study was a skip of one irrigation event followed by 2 normal irrigations. The DI treatment began after tuber initiation. The DI treatment resulted in reduction of 11 and 9 irrigation events in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The results showed that deficit irrigation in 2012 did not significantly affect the tuber yield as compared to that with full irrigation. However in 2011, deficit irrigation significantly decreased the tuber yield by 25%.

Technical Abstract: Proper irrigation scheduling in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) can lead to higher returns and more sustainable production practices when compared to systems that do not take plant water demand into account. In an attempt to reduce irrigation applications while minimizing yield reduction, we evaluated a novel deficit irrigation treatment utilizing a mild irrigation reduction during tuber bulking by comparing a typical commercial irrigation schedule to a partial irrigation schedule. Physiological, yield and quality effects were quantified. Reducing the number of irrigation applications by 14 in 2011 and by 9 in 2012 minimally affected most parameters measured. However, a significant yield reduction of 11,713 kg/ha in the partial irrigation treatment occurred in 2011, likely because of the irrigation treatment commencing at the latter portion of tuber initiation. In 2012, the initiation of the partial irrigation was delayed and resulted in no significant difference in yield between the partial and full irrigation treatments. This study shows the potential for a reduced irrigation schedule for use by Florida potato growers as a sustainable option for potato production in this region.