Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Better tools for saving water and keeping peaches healthy

Date:
December 13, 2012
Source:
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Summary:
Peach growers in California may soon have better tools for saving water. Scientists are evaluating whether infrared sensors and thermal technology can help peach growers decide precisely when to irrigate in California's San Joaquin Valley.

ARS scientist Dong Wang is developing a way for peach growers in the San Joaquin Valley, Calif., to use infrared sensors and thermal technology to know precisely when their trees need irrigating.
Credit: Photo by Peggy Greb

Peach growers in California may soon have better tools for saving water because of work by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Parlier, Calif.

Related Articles


Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Dong Wang is evaluating whether infrared sensors and thermal technology can help peach growers decide precisely when to irrigate in California's San Joaquin Valley. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and the research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Irrigation is the primary source of water for agriculture in the valley during the summer, and wells have been forced to reach deeper to bring up enough water to meet increasing demands. Peaches also require much of their water from June through September, when temperatures and demands for water are at their highest.

Wang and Jim Gartung, an ARS agricultural engineer, installed 12 infrared temperature sensors in peach orchards at the San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Parlier and gave trees one of four irrigation treatments: applying furrow or subsurface drip irrigation, with or without postharvest water stress.

They also measured crop yields and assessed the quality of the fruit to compare the output of trees grown under deficit irrigation with trees grown under normal conditions. Deficit irrigation has been used to produce some varieties of grapes and has been studied for its potential in fruit tree and row crop production. But it has yet to be widely adopted, in part because growers need better tools to strike a balance between saving water and keeping crops viable and healthy, according to Wang.

They used the sensors to measure temperatures in the tree canopies, and calculated a "crop water stress index" based on the differences between tree canopy temperatures and the surrounding air temperatures. Higher index numbers indicated more stressed trees.

The researchers found that midday canopy-to-air temperature differences in trees that were water-stressed postharvest were in the 10- to 15-degree Fahrenheit range, consistently higher than the 3- to 4-degree Fahrenheit range in the trees that were not water-stressed.

For comparison purposes, the researchers placed leaves from stressed and non-stressed trees in a pressure chamber and measured the pressure required to squeeze water out of them. When the trees are water-stressed, it takes more pressure to squeeze moisture from them.

The results, published in Agricultural Water Management, show that the pressure chamber results were consistent with data collected by the infrared sensors, which means the sensors may be an effective tool for managing water use in peach orchards.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. The original article was written by Dennis O'Brien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. "Better tools for saving water and keeping peaches healthy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213151512.htm>.
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. (2012, December 13). Better tools for saving water and keeping peaches healthy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213151512.htm
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics. "Better tools for saving water and keeping peaches healthy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213151512.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins