The Wye Research and Education Center (WREC) of the University of Maryland is located on the eastern shore of Maryland in Queenstown, MD.
The research being conducted at WREC is aimed at understanding the effect of deficit irrigation (reduced water volume) on yield and fruit quality of strawberries under a plasticulture production system. The goal of this intensive research is to identify deficit irrigation scenarios that can be implemented in plasticulture strawberry production system to maximize water use efficiency and improve fruit quality.
Plasticulture production at Wye Research and Education Center. Plots are independently controlled by nodes in the experiment at Wye
The experiment is laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with 4 replications. Three deficit irrigation levels and a control (well watered) constitute the treatments. The 16 experimental units/plots are 32” by 20’ in size. On each plot, 30 strawberry plugs of the cultivar ‘Chandler’ were transplanted in 2 rows, with a distance of 12” between rows and between plants. Sub surface irrigation is supplied to the plots through 2 drip tapes that are buried 2” under the plastic.
Two 10HS soil moisture sensors are placed at 4 inches deep in each raised bed/plot to independently control each irrigation treatment based on that plot’s specific soil moisture content. In addition, two GS3 sensors are also deployed in each plot to provide electrical conductivity and soil temperature data. Irrigation volume for each block is measured by Badger flow meters (Badger Meter, Milwaukee, WI)