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Fluid Journal : Summer 2017
15 The Fluid Journal Summer 2017 headquarters is in Israel. Netafim is a world leader in drip irrigation, U of I Parma knows how to carry out detailed research, and Simplot knows how to grow potatoes- -a great combination for a successful evaluation of drip on potatoes. Methods and Materials Small plot field trials were established in the spring of 2016 at the Parma Research and Extension Center located 1.5 hours west of Boise, Idaho. These trials were done in close association with Dr. Mike Thornton and his capable staff, Ransey Portenier, Oksana Adams and other farm team members. Soil was a Greenleaf Silt Loam with a cation exchange capacity (CEC) of about 18 meq/100/gm of soil. Preplant applications of NPK and micronutrients were made in line with nutrient management recommendations based on soil sampling and yield goals of 800 cwt/A (40 tons/A). All pre-plant nutrients were incorporated and spring beds created in preparation for planting. Drip tape, irrigation water filtering station and all connectors were provided by Netafim through their North American Corporate offices in Fresno, CA. The 2016 field trials included 3 potato varieties: Ranger Russet, Alturas, and Clearwater. Plots were 4 rows wide by 40 feet with 5 foot alleys between each plot length with red potatoes planted within the alleyways. NutriSphere-N (N-N) (Verdesian Life Sciences--Cary, NC), an N enhancement polymer, was applied in combination with urea ammonium nitrate (UAN). Each treatment was replicated 4 times. Besides the variety differences, nutrient treatments included: 1. Grower Standard Practice (GSP)--in- season N provided by UAN through the drip lines 2. GPS plus N-N at the same rate of N 3. GSP plus N-N at 70% of GSP N rate. Plots were planted April 14th using a 2-row planter that applied fungicide, potatoes spaced at 12 inches, and laid the drip tape 2 inches below the soil surface and 4 inches directly above the seed piece (see Figure 1). Comparisons were also made with the same treatments and potato varieties using solid set sprinklers within the same field trial area. This allowed comparison of water application method effects on water use efficiency as well as potato quality parameters. Netafim provided sensors within the field to monitor soil temperature with a Figure 1. Planting drip potato plots and laying drip tape located 2 inches below the soil surface and 4 inches above the seed piece. Parma ID Figure 2. Soil moisture and temperature monitoring on drip potatoes with Netafim equipment—Dr. Ami Gipps—Israel. Figure 3. Soil temperature and moisture monitoring between drip irrigation and sprin- kler for potatoes 2016. Figure 4. Water pattern associated with drip irrigation where areas between rows remains dry which improves water use efficiency within a potato crop. probe located at the seed piece and soil moisture sensors located both at the seed piece and 10 cm below the seed piece. Information was recorded in real time and up-loaded to the cloud and back to computers established for monitoring both water application and temperature for both drip and sprinkler comparisons (see Figure 2). Figure 3 is an example of comparative differences between water applications for drip and sprinklers. This information is critical to monitor water use, temperature, and the ability to provide moisture at critical times and to assure that water applications are kept within the effective root zone of the potato. Over-watering is costly and pushes any soluble N below a point where it would be accessible by