Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Saving Water without Hurting Peach Production

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are helping peach growers make the most of dwindling water supplies in California's San Joaquin Valley.

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!
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Harnessing a peptide holds promise for increasing crop yields without more fertilizer
25.11.2015 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Study shows how crop prices and climate variables affect yield and acreage
18.11.2015 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Siemens to supply 126 megawatts to onshore wind power plants in Scotland

27.11.2015 | Press release

Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease

27.11.2015 | Life Sciences

Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film

27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>