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.

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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. 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:
from the past week

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