Skip to main content

Comparison of site-specific and conventional uniform irrigation management for potatoes

King, B.A. and Stark, J.C. and Wall, R.W. (2006) Comparison of site-specific and conventional uniform irrigation management for potatoes. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 22(5):677-688.

[img] PDF

Download (886kB)


Site-Specific Irrigation Management (SSIM) can be defined as irrigation management (depth, timing) based on
crop need to defined sub-areas of a field referred to as management zones. Implementation of SSIM will require additional
irrigation system hardware, labor, and information on soil and/or plant water status in each management zone. Costs
associated with these additional requirements will need to be offset by increased receipts from improved crop yield and quality
in order for the technology to be adopted by producers. The potential for SSIM to increase crop yield, quality, and economic
return has not been evaluated in field studies. Crops such as potatoes, for which yield and quality are highly sensitive to soil
water availability, are most likely to show an economic benefit from site-specific irrigation management. A two-year field
study was conducted to evaluate the potential for SSIM to increase yield and quality of potatoes relative to Conventional
Uniform Irrigation Management (CUIM). Near real-time soil water content was used to schedule irrigations under both
irrigation management treatments. Field average water application was nearly the same for the irrigation management
treatments, 503 mm (19.8 in.) in 2001 and 445 mm (17.5 in.) in 2002. In both study years, tuber yield distributions trended
4% greater under site-specific irrigation management but were not significantly different (p < 0.05). Total tuber yield per
unit of water applied from irrigation and precipitation was 4% greater in 2001 and 6% greater in 2002 under SSIM. Based
on a local tuber quality adjusted potato processing contract price structure, the trend in gross income averaged across the
field site was $ 159/ha ($65/acre) greater with SSIM. This increase in gross income is likely about half the actual cost of
commercial site-specific irrigation technology. The required 3- to 5-year crop rotation for potato disease management means
that the site-specific irrigation system needs to be mobile or an economic benefit must also be realized from other crops in
the rotation. The economic benefit of SSIM needs to be increased or realized for other crops in the rotation for it to be an
economically viable technology in potato production systems in Idaho.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1189
Subjects: Irrigated crops > Potato
Irrigation > Site-specific irrigation
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:49
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2016 15:42
Item ID: 38