Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist James E. Ayars at the San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Parlier, Calif., has found a way to reduce the amount of water given post-harvest to early-season peaches so that the reduction has a minimal effect on yield and fruit quality. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and the research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
The valley has about 25,000 acres of peach orchards that must be irrigated throughout the summer. Early-season peaches are normally harvested in May, but require most of their water from June through September, a time when temperatures and demands for water are at their highest. Snow packs in the Sierra Nevada have traditionally been a sufficient water source for growers, but earlier snowmelts have made water more precious with each summer. Wells that supply the valley have had to reach deeper to meet increasing demands.
Ayars and ARS scientist Dong Wang, also based at Parlier, irrigated a 4-acre plot of early-season peach trees from March to the May harvest. From June to September, they gave the trees either 25 percent of the amount of water they'd normally receive, 50 percent of the normal amount, or 100 percent. The scientists measured soil water content once a week to be sure that even with periodic rainfall, trees were given appropriate deficit-irrigation treatments. They also used three types of irrigation systems: microspray, subsurface drip irrigation, and furrow irrigation, in which water is distributed in shallow canal-like rows near the trees. Defective fruit were counted and removed after each harvest.
The results showed that reducing post-harvest irrigation levels to 25 percent of the normal amount had negative effects on yield and fruit quality, but that giving 50 percent less water than normal had minimal effects on the following year's quality and yield. The subsurface drip irrigation systems tended to have the lowest yields within a given year, but differences were generally not statistically significant. The researchers also found that trees needed less pruning and maintenance because the deficit irrigation slowed plant growth.
The results of this study have been submitted to the scientific journal HortScience for publication.
Read more about this research in the November/December 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Dennis O'Brien | EurekAlert!
Covering the bases with cover crops
01.10.2015 | American Society of Agronomy
Innovative seeding machine to speed up kenaf planting
23.09.2015 | Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)
Having a light touch can make a hefty difference in how well animals and robots move across challenging granular surfaces such as snow, sand and leaf litter. Research reported October 9 in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics shows how the design of appendages – whether legs or wheels – affects the ability of both robots and animals to cross weak and flowing surfaces.
Using an air fluidized bed trackway filled with poppy seeds or glass spheres, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology systematically varied the...
Nondestructive material testing (NDT) is a fast and effective way to analyze the quality of a product during the manufacturing process. Because defective materials can lead to malfunctioning finished products, NDT is an essential quality assurance measure, especially in the manufacture of safety-critical components such as automotive B-pillars. NDT examines the quality without damaging the component or modifying the surface of the material. At this year's Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IZFP will have an exhibit that demonstrates the nondestructive testing of high-strength automotive body parts using 3MA. The measurement results are available in a matter of seconds.
To minimize vehicle weight and fuel consumption while providing the highest level of crash safety, automotive bodies are reinforced with elements made from...
The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.
As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...
Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.
Inspired by insects
An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...
01.10.2015 | Event News
30.09.2015 | Event News
17.09.2015 | Event News
12.10.2015 | Press release
12.10.2015 | Press release
12.10.2015 | Physics and Astronomy