3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Seth Byrd
Session Name Posters - Water Conservation and Use 2
Category Water Conservation and Use
Poster Number 80
Author(s) Seth Byrd,  UF Graduate Student (Presenting Author)
  Diane Rowland,  UF Agronomy Department
  Jerry Bennett, University of Florida, Agronomy Department, Gainesville, FL
  Lincoln Zotarelli, University of Florida, Horticultural Sciences Department, Gainesville, FL
  David Wright, University of Florida, Agronomy Department, Gainesville, FL
  Optimizing Irrigation of Florida Potato
  Additional Author: Ashok Alva, USDA ARS, Prosser, Washington Irrigation is pivotal in commercial potato production for generating a high yield, but infrastructure and pumping costs can be prohibitive. Proper irrigation scheduling is key to sustainability; this is especially true during the crop developmental period when tubers are filling (tuber bulking) and crop water use is maximal. In an attempt to reduce irrigation input with a minimal reduction in yield, we will evaluate a deficit irrigation treatment utilizing mild water stress during tuber bulking stage in a commercial potato field in Florida. Plant physiological processes, water movement within the plant, and nutrient levels in the plant and soil will be measured to evaluate the effect of altered water application on soil and plant processes. Soil moisture sensors will provide seasonal soil moisture percentage levels. Sap flow collars, which measure the velocity of xylem flow, will be installed in close proximity to the soil moisture sensors to provide a correlation between soil moisture and plant transpiration measurements. Additional physiological measurements will be taken three times during the tuber initiation and bulking period including: leaf area index, stomatal conductance, fluorescence, SPAD chlorophyll content, and stem water potential. Soil and plant nutrient analyses will include soil sampling for fertility analysis and nitrogen extraction; installation of plant root simulation probes (PRS™) for plant available nutrients; and petiole samples for nutrient levels within the plant. This project will test whether applying a mild water stress during tuber bulking can maintain or cause minimal losses in potato yield. Physiological trigger points representing plant stress level may be identified which indicate when water stress could be imposed or halted without a major yield decrease. Overall, this project may lead to a more profitable and sustainable system for commercial potato irrigation.