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Precision overhead irrigation is suitable for several Central Valley crops

  • Author(s): Mitchell, Jeffrey P
  • Shrestha, Anil
  • Hollingsworth, Joy
  • Munk, Daniel S
  • Hembree, Kurt J
  • Turini, Tom A
  • et al.
Abstract

Overhead systems are the dominant irrigation technology in many parts of the world, but they are not widely used in California even though they have higher water application efficiency than furrow irrigation systems and lower labor requirements than drip systems. With water and labor perennial concerns in California, the suitability of overhead systems merits consideration. From 2008 through 2013, in studies near Five Points, California, we evaluated overhead irrigation for wheat, corn, cotton, tomato, onion and broccoli as an alternative to furrow and drip irrigation. With the exception of tomato, equal or increased yields were achieved with overhead irrigation. Many variables are involved in the choice of an irrigation system, but our results suggest that, with more research to support best management practices, overhead irrigation may be useful to a wider set of California farmers than currently use it.

 

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