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Reliable and valid information about plant water status is a critical input variable for optimizing citrus orchard growth. Precisely managing citrus water stress during all phenological stages enables maximized production by: avoiding drought stress during flowering and fruit sets; achieving appropriate sugar levels; and maintaining fruit quality by, for example, avoiding peel creasing for example.
Controlled water status can best be precisely achieved by monitoring the Stem-Water Potential (SWP) values regularly. After five successful years of experimentation and development, Saturas’ StemSenseTM sensors were installed in mature commercial citrus orchards around the world, and at the leading research phytotron in Israel. Saturas has a full library of commercial case studies and are available by request. This brief overview cites results from two: China and Spain
Three Saturas StemSenseTM sensors were installed in an OR (Clementine) citrus orchard in the Hongjing farm, China. The StemSenseTM sensors were installed randomly in the orchard to represent the whole orchard status. The StemsenseTM sensors measured daily mid-day SWP values.
Results and Conclusions
Figure 1 illustrates seasonal values of Saturas StemSenseTM mid-day SWP values, daily ET0 and irrigation volume. Of note, is the positive and significant response to irrigation and changes in evapotranspiration. Note, for example, the rain stoppage from Aug 23th to Aug 30th, as reflected by the gradually increasing SWP values.
Five Saturas StemSenseTM sensors were installed in a lemon orchard in the Velcarda farm, Spain.
The StemSenseTM sensors were installed randomly in the orchard to represent the whole orchard status. The StemSenseTM sensors measured daily mid-day SWP values.
Results and Conclusions
Figure 2 illustrates seasonal values of Saturas StemSenseTM mid-day SWP values, daily ET0 and irrigation volume. The Saturas StemSenseTM sensors showed a highly correlative response to irrigation and changes in evapotranspiration Note, for example, the increase in SWP values during late July- early Aug, the influence of the small irrigation on Aug 2nd, and the response of the trees to the regular irrigation started on Aug 13th.
Saturas StemSenseTM sensors showed a very rapid response to irrigation and a positive and significant correlation to manual pressure chamber measurements.
The StemSenseTM sensors, in these two case studies, demonstrated high measures of correlation to environmental stimuli such as ET, precipitation and irrigation while delivering reliable and valid SWP values over time. The commercial utility of StemSenseTM sensors is mutli-layered. The specific result of these studies demonstrates that the Saturas StemSenseTM sensors contribute reliable and valid information to the grower, critical for making good decisions for scheduling irrigation.
In addition, the experimental and commerical aplications demonstrated a high correlation to manual pressure chamber measurements. Replicability of experimental outcomes has allowed Saturas to expand into the apple, avocado, cherry, almond, kiwi, vine markets.
Avishai Avni-Maya PhD