Shlagel Farms, located in Waldorf, Maryland, is a family owned and operated farm that produces and sells a large variety of fruits and vegetables. The farm has been in continuous production for the last 102 years. The farm owner, Russ Shlagel, emphasizes sustainability and adopts best management practices (BMP) wherever possible in his daily activities.
Shlagel Farms produces strawberries using the plasticulture production system. There are 10 strawberry production blocks on the farm, each consisting of 10 raised beds. The beds are 2 ½’ wide and 350’ in length. A single drip tape (medium flow 8” spacing) is laid down under the plastic to provide water and nutrients.
Control nodes are deployed in individual rows in a plasticulture system at Shlagel Farms
One of these strawberry production blocks was selected to compare sensor-controlled irrigation with current irrigation practices on the farm. The middle eight beds in the selected block (pictured above) are utilized for this study. As we described for Butler’s Orchard, sensor-controlled irrigation is independently scheduled in four of these beds using nR5 control nodes, based on average soil volumetric water content readings of two 10HS soil moisture sensors inserted in the root zone at depth of 4 inches in each bed. The remaining four beds are managed by the Shalgel’s team using normal best irrigation practices along with the rest of the blocks. Monitoring nodes, deployed in each of these beds, are collecting soil volumetric water content, EC and irrigation application volumes.