Researchers from the Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training (Ifapa) have released the results of their research on the cultivation of red fruits in Huelva. They have concluded that it is possible to save about 40% of irrigation water and at the same increase the productivity of crops by up to 30% in certain cases. These data correspond to raspberry crops.
Two researchers of the Alameda del Obispo Center of Ifapa, Natividad Ruiz and Pedro Gavilán, have announced the results of several tests carried out during the last two agricultural seasons with the irrigation of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries cultivated on steep terrain.
The trial fields used are located in the province of Huelva. Some, like the El Cebollar farm, are publicly owned, while others are private companies, such as Masia Ciscar and Surexport. The idea was to cover the different production regions of the province of Huelva.
The researchers explained in detail the technical issues at the beginning of the tests. It is worth noting that, given its great efficiency, the free tool Canopeo has been used to measure both lateral and top-level plant canopies. In the presentation, the researchers expressed their gratitude to the growers for their usual cooperation in the provision of their facilities.
One of the remarks that have been made has to do with the irrigation materials, since those intended for strawberries are also normally used for raspberries and blueberries, even though "these are not the most suitable," said Gavilán.
In the case of raspberries, the first and second tests yield different results that are influenced mainly by the rainy period of autumn and winter. The trials show that with a water saving that oscillates between 19% and 42%, no loss in the yield has been detected.
In the two raspberry harvests, the best results were 17,200 kilos/hectare and 29,800 kilos/hectare with 4,800 m3/hectare and 6,700 m3/hectare of irrigation water. With an 85% efficiency in irrigation, productivity can be increased by up to 30%.
In another test carried out with long-cane raspberries, one of the conclusions worth noting is that the non-remontant variety was irrigated with 2,100 m3/hectare without any production losses, and the yield exceeded the 20 tons per hectare.
Pedro Gavilán talked about the added difficulties of growing the crop on uneven terrain, given the irregular supply of water and fertirrigation that the plant receives depending on the part of the slope where it is located. The highest irrigation efficiency is achieved in the upper and the lower areas.
In this test, the fruit's deformity substantially determined the production and it was verified that the scheduled irrigation increases the production by 26% while reducing the use of water and fertilizers by 23%.
Lastly, the technician of Gat Fertiliquidos, Francisco Molina, presented the results of the tests carried out with strawberries by this company because "our goal is to ensure a rational use of fertilizers and achieve maximum efficiency with fewer applications"
The saving of water with any crop is attractive for any agricultural area, as is the case of the province of Huelva. The Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training is very aware of the interest that this issue has sparked for years among agricultural producers in the province and, especially, among those involved in the cultivation of red fruits. They, in fact, were pioneers in the installation of efficient irrigation systems more than two decades ago.