Comparison of manual and automatic irrigation systems in strawberries

A. Ançay, V. Michel, C.A. Baroffio
In Switzerland, the major part of the 500 ha strawberry production area is cultivated with drip irrigation. Traditionally, the irrigation management is based on the monitoring of the soil moisture combined with a manually operated irrigation system, which is quite time consuming. In Switzerland, salaries are high and are a major production cost. The use of fully automatic irrigation systems might help to reduce production costs and eventually reduce the amount of water used for irrigation. From 2013 to 2015, a field experiment was carried out to compare two manual irrigation systems (traditional producer manual approach and optimised) and two automatic irrigation system (Watermark and PlantCare) on yield and fruit quality (fruit size, acidity, sugar, firmness) of strawberries. During the irrigation period, the average daily water volume was 1.1-1.2 L m-2 for the optimised irrigation systems (manual or automatic) and 1.6 L m-2 for the traditional manual producer irrigation system. This important reduction of the irrigation water volume had no impact on yield and fruit quality. The optimised manual irrigation system could save as much water as the automatic irrigation systems, but increased the workload.
Ançay, A., Michel, V. and Baroffio, C.A. (2017). Comparison of manual and automatic irrigation systems in strawberries. Acta Hortic. 1156, 263-268
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1156.40
irrigation system, strawberry, water saving

Acta Horticulturae