For the past five growing seasons, the Cal Poly Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) has conducted research on water use, salinity levels and various other factors related to strawberry transplant establishment. This report summarizes research that can be found online: www.itrc.org/projects.htm.

The project’s goal was to develop an analysis of irrigation practices of the strawberry growers on the central coast of California, primarily during the establishment of transplants. From the analysis, sprinkler use reduction methods were developed. These methods conserve water, save pumping costs, and reduce the runoff that can potentially contaminate local waterways. California growers contributed control and research plots to thoroughly represent the production areas and this project was a great success due to their input.

This project had a major impact on the strawberry industry and modified the methodology for irrigating a high value crop. This new methodology has been adopted by the innovative growers in California. After the developed irrigation methodology was in practice, growers reported up to a 15-percent yield increase, a 10-percent decrease in water usage and a peak production of strawberries earlier in the season. The key determinant in the transition to new irrigation management is the impact of salinity, which must be effectively managed.


Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering

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This material may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This material may be found at https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/9780784413548.178.


URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bae_fac/145