Cambridge University Farm tells growers efficiency key to effective irrigation

Cambridge University Farm (CUF) has developed irrigation software technology, based on 20 years of data, which works out yield impact and profits.

The CUF model shows how different responses to soil-moisture deficit affect yield, said CUF researcher Mark Stalham.

"Do we always need to irrigate?" asked Stalham. "The answer is broadly yes but the specifics are critical, not only for yield but also in combating cracking and scab."

Water-use efficiency was "the name of the game", he said - get the timings right and there were huge potential benefits.

But water-use efficiency varied according to variety, growth and soil conditions, he told a recent growers' day at potato supplier Greenvale.

Growers had to avoid over-watering, even on scabby soil, and vary their irrigation patterns to suit their crop.


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