Irrigation Impact on Soils

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The yield of potato is constrained by available root volume.

Effective irrigation may help increase crop yield especially if there are soil constraints such as compaction. Effective irrigation is based on ET and soil moisture. For potatoes it is not clear how yield changes if irrigation is not managed effectively.

An irrigation trial has been completed at Dorie by FAR in conjunction with Plant & Food Research (PFR) in 2014/15. A range of treatments evaluated the impacts of non-optimal irrigation either in amount or timing on potato yield and quality. The results of the trials are available in the library.

There were very marked visual differences in canopy development and time of senescence between the different treatments and the TDR measurements of soil moisture showed very significant differences between treatments. An assessment of disease showed no differences between treatments. There were very marked differences in yield and quality between treatments with no yield loss when applying 66% of water vs 100%.

In 2016 the project was undertaken at the FAR Chertsey site to better understand the water requirements of potatoes in field situations. This was funded by the levy. In addition a trial has been established at PFR (core funded) to investigate the interaction between irrigation and the cropping system.