Irrigation research delineates tradeoffs in fruit quality and yield
Fruit harvested from the experimental trial being loaded onto trucks for transport to the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center for yield and fruit quality evaluation.
What Has ANR Done?UC Kern County farm advisors Craig Kallsen and Blake Sanden, in cooperation with a private citrus grower, developed and implemented a series of carefully monitored irrigation treatments that allowed delineation of the affects of late-season irrigation stress on fruit quality and yield. Yield and fruit quality evaluations of the fruit harvested from this trial were conducted at the experimental pack line and laboratory at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center. To determine if laboratory-measured differences in fruit quality parameters - such as percentages of soluble solids, titratable acid and juiciness - correlated with human sensory perception, fruit from the irrigation treatments was evaluated by a human sensory panel through a program developed by UC Extension Specialist Mary Lou Arpaia, located at the UC Kearney Agricultural Center.
Results from this project were presented at ANR-sponsored grower meetings in Kern County in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and appeared in a statewide newsletter, “Topics in Subtropics." A final report of the project appeared in the 2008 annual report of the Citrus Research Board, which is the statewide citrus commodity group in California.
Quantifying impacts of late irrigation stress on yield and qualityGrowers specializing in producing fruit for the early navel market now have available to them knowledge of the tradeoffs related to irrigating early navel varieties in the August-through-October time period. This reasearch demonstrated, on the positive side, that late season irrigation stress saved water, increased development of early fruit color and increased the concentration of soluble solids, such as sugar, and organic acids. On the negative side, water stress, generally, reduced fruit size and yield.
Supporting Unit:Kern County
Blake Sanden, irrigation and agronomy farm advisor, (661) 868-6221, firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig Kallsen, citrus farm advisor, (661) 868-6221, email@example.com
Mary Lu Arpaia, Extension specialist, (559) 646-6561, firstname.lastname@example.org