Water savings for potato production using center pivot irrigation in southwest FloridaWater savings for potato production using center pivot irrigation in southwest Florida

Xiaolin Liao, Guodong Liu, Lincoln Zotarelli, B. Santos, T. Salame-Donoso, Crystal Snodgrass, Alan Jones


Seepage irrigation is the most widely used irrigation system for potato production in Florida but is inefficient in water use. To evaluate the potential water-savings under center pivot, field trials were conducted on a commercial potato farm in Parrish, FL, where both center pivot and seepage irrigation systems were compared side by side. The irrigation water usage, potato yield and quality were compared between the two irrigation systems in the 2012–13 growing season at two locations. Two 20-foot rows were used for tuber yield measurement. Our results showed no significant difference in tuber yields and leaf greenness between seepage and center pivot irrigation. The total water applied for seepage irrigation and center pivot irrigation ranged from 24 to 36 inches and 9 to 15 inches, respectively. Center pivot irrigation used 35% to 75% less water and had high water use efficiency compared to seepage irrigation. In addition, after two freeze events of 2013, better foliage coverage, greener plants, and less freeze damage were found under the center pivot system. More research is required to fully evaluate the potential of switching from conventional seepage irrigation to overhead irrigation.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283