HDC Project TF 198 aimed to develop targeted irrigation strategies to optimise water-use efficiency, yields and fruit quality for each system. Irrigation test regimes (ITRs) were developed to match demand with supply and to reduce losses of water and fertiliser past the rooting zone. The effects of these were compared to current commercial irrigation regimes.
In 2012, the yield and number of class-one fruit from each tree was not significantly different between those grown under the two irrigation regimes for any of the four growing systems. The average class-one yield per tree ranged from 5kg in the Central Leader system under the commercial regime to 9.5kg in the V-system under the ITR.
The fresh weight and number of class-two and waste fruit were also similar under the two irrigation regimes in each of the four growing systems.
There were no significant differences between irrigation treatments in values of firmness, soluble solid content (Brix percentage) or percentage smooth russetting of fruit harvested from any of the four growing systems in 2012. Water savings of between 64 and 77 per cent were achieved under the ITRs, compared to the commercial regimes.
The full grower summary for Project TF 198 can be found on the HDC website - www.hdc.org.uk.
Horticultural Development Company
For details on all HDC activity, visit www.hdc.org.uk.