Authors: A. Elmi, C. Madramootoo, P. Handyside And G. Dodds
Identifier: C0906
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Published in: CBE Journal » CBE Journal Volume 52 (2010)

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Description: Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton) is a wetland crop grown commercially in natural or constructed sandy and peatsoils basins. An excessive amount of water is used in cranberry farming systems compared with other irrigated crops, which hasheightened growers' interest in improved drainage and irrigation management practices that conserve water resources with optimal yields. The objective of this study was to assess water needsfor cranberry beds from a water balance analysis and develop a design criterion for subirrigation requirements in the Saint-Louis-de-Blanford region of Quebec, Canada. Crop evapotranspiration (ETc) was computed from Hargreavés equation ofreference evapotranspiration (ETo) and a crop consumptive use. coefficient (Kc). Different irrigation rates were determined when. the root-zone soil moisture was allowed to reach 25, 50, and 75%. depletion of available water (AW). Depending on the level of AW depletion, irrigation requirements ranged from 4 to 13 mmper day for a sandy soil, and from 10 to 23 mm for a peat soil. We concluded from our study that the level of AW depletion thatshould be used to calculate irrigation requirements was between 25 and 50% for both soil types. These crop requirement valuescan be used as a guide to determine when to irrigate and how much with minimum water loss, without compromising cropyields. We have shown that subirrigation technology using subsurface drainage pipes has the potential to meet irrigation requirements for cranberry production. We found that theideal pipe spacing would be approximately 22 m for sandy soil, and 5 m for peat soil. More work is needed to ascertain howdifferent lateral spacings can satisfy cranberry water requirementsunder different climatic conditions.

Keywords: cranberries, peat soils, available water, irrigation water requirements, crop evapotranspiration, reference evapotranspiration
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Date: 2010-08-24
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Publication type: Journal
Coverage: Canada
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