Lorca, Murcia

Issues:

Cricket Produce is one of the largest growers of artichokes in Spain and has serious issues with water availability. As much of its growing area is on a gradient a significant amount of the water applied is lost to the crop either through drainage or from surface run-off. Trials were carried out to see if a reduction of water and nutrients was possible under normal growing conditions throughout the winter period. The artichoke varieties that were grown on a flat valley base had acceptable irrigation runoff however the temperature in the area is naturally higher due to the protection of the surrounding valley so loss to the crops from evaporation and drainage were the larger concerns. The trials area would cover approximately 7 hectares due to the
set-up of the feed station.

Application:

Integrate was added to the fertiliser and water at 2.0 litres per Ha (1 quart per acre) for the first application and then subsequent applications were applied at 1.0 litre per Hectare (1 pint per acre) for subsequent application at monthly intervals. Irrigation timing was reduced from day 1 by 33% from 45 minutes per day to just 30 minutes.

Results:

After two weeks the area with lower irrigation had an increased moisture level at 30 inches of 21%, from the normal 43% in the untreated area to 64%. This amazed Cricket’s agronomists as these levels were generally not seen in this crop in between irrigation rounds, let alone with a 33% reduction in irrigation volume. There were two significant results using these irrigation timings. The yield of the crop increased by 15% in weight and uniformity of production had been far more consistent in the treated area. Also the area treated with Integrate showed reduced pressure from pathogenic infection due to reduced humidity within the crop canopy.