During California’s long-term drought, strawberry farmers needed ways to reduce water usage while still producing a full crop.
Overhead sprinkler systems are the usual method of irrigating strawberries, but they can be inefficient. Overhead irrigation may result in loss of water through evaporation, limited surface area for water to penetrate due to plastic mulch on strawberry beds and potential runoff.
California researchers evaluated microsprinklers as a possible replacement for overhead irrigation at a commercial berry farm. The study showed 32% water savings in three weeks of use and no significant reduction in strawberry yield. Microsprinklers require less water pressure and could offer additional savings in energy costs.
The research found that commercial producers who adopt microsprinklers can conserve valuable water resources without facing yield loss or additional maintenance costs.