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Fluid Journal : Summer 2017
17 The Fluid Journal Summer 2017 different when compared in a larger field setting, but in these smaller field trials, not much difference. Economics Positive yield and quality improvements for potatoes being produced under drip were observed and then related to economic improvements that are presented in Figure 8. Variety differences were also observed associated with drip improvements over sprinklers. These small plots had relative economic improvements ranging from $345/A for Clearwater to a high of $375/A for Rangers. Alturas variety was within this range. While positive economic benefits are always a good step in creating a basis for adopting any new technology, yields and quality parameters will have to be considerably higher for drip potatoes to be adopted across larger processing acreages. This would be especially true if there were no limitations of moisture within a production area. Our goal for the future is to dramatically improve both yield (to the range of 200 cwt/A) and quality in sugar ends. We can move forward all we want with small plots, but the real test is being able to scale the drip trial up and place in a production field with commercial equipment for planting and harvest, measure differences in water and nutrient use efficiency and quality parameters going through a production plant. The Future Drip irrigation is being continued in 2017 with major changes. Small plot work will be continued with the University of Idaho at Parma. Clearwater, Umatilla, and Ranger will be continued for year to year consistency. We will plan to drop NutriSphere N as a variable but still look to increase nutrient efficiency with drip compared to sprinklers. Our intention is evaluate 6-24-6 low salt fluid fertilizer in combination with other materials. The drip experience will be expanded into a 6-acre field that will be managed with commercial equipment comparing drip and sprinkler irrigation. The field will be evaluated for yield, quality, water use efficiency, and how they relate to profitability within a more sustainable potato system. Netafim will help support this project with drip tape, connectors, moisture sensing equipment, filtration system, and a weather station. We are looking forward to scaling this project up and begin to seriously answer questions of value and economics associated with drip irrigation on processing potatoes. Figure 7. Fry color % comparing 2015-16 potato drip compared to sprinkler irrigation. Figure 8. Economic predictions for Clearwater, Ranger and Alturas potato varieties being pro- duced under sprinkler compared to drip irrigation at Parma Idaho, 2016. Dr. Tindall is Senior Agronomist for the J.R. Simplot Company in Boise Idaho, and is also a member of the FFF Board of Directors and its Fluid Journal Editorial Committee. Dr. Mooso is the Agronomy Manager for Simplot and member of the FFF R & E Committee.