09 September 2023, US: A strawberry grower was managing multiple varieties on a sandy soil that has a loam subsoil layer at 350-400mm (14-16”). The plant configuration is a single row of drip tape with a row of plants 16cm (6.3”) on either side. There are six plants per meter of row (3.3ft).
Strawberries planted in a dual row configuration with the drip tape installed sub-surface between both rows.
There were two primary reasons the grower chose this tape and plant configuration.
The first reason was the ability to ensure that the full bed would be evenly wet-up with the drip tape and that peak water demand could be met.
The second reason was related to fruit quality during the picking cycle. Some varieties that have softer skins can have a lower pack-out due to skin quality issues if the soil profile is full. The grower irrigates following a pick and then allows the profile to dry down leading into the next pick. This has the effect of maintaining fruit size and hardens the skin and firms the fruit, thereby increasing the first-grade pack-out.
The close emitter drip tape and plant configuration ensures that the full bed can be evenly and effectively wet-up following each 3–4-day irrigation cycle.
The grower is using the close emitter drip tape product 512-15-340 (512-06-90) with a 0.5L (0.13gal)/hr emitter, for the following reasons:
- Enable lateral movement of water to maintain a full width bed of moisture.
- Avoid deep irrigations that can cause a buildup of water on the sub-soil loam layer.
- Reduce the risk of nutrient leaching and a buildup of EC on the sub-soil loam layer.
- Meet peak crop water demand leading into summer.
- Enables crop management using precise nutrient balancing and soil EC management.
- Manage irrigation cycle to maximize fruit quality at harvest on a 3-4 day picking cycle.
(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)