Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nursery - Improving Irrigation Efficiency in Container Production

The following is information on an upcoming training being held in Maryland on improving irrigation efficiency in container nursery production.

Irrigation Uniformity = Irrigation Efficiency
Andrew Ristvey, Exension Nursery Crop Specialist, University of Maryland.

Irrigation management is the key to nutrient management for above ground or containerized nursery operations. Efficient irrigation systems can apply water uniformly throughout the growing bed area. An irrigation manager will determine the amount of time plants should be under irrigation based on the plant that gets the least amount of water. If an irrigation system does not apply water uniformly over the plants, then some plants will be under-irrigated, while others are over-irrigated. The over irrigated plants will leach nutrients, and the under irrigated plants will lose growth potential. Uniform application depends on many factors including operating pressure, equipment age and wear, the number of irrigation nozzles per unit distance, the overlap of irrigation water, etc. All these factors can be difficult to keep track of, but each is important for increasing efficiency.

On Wednesday October 15 an Advanced Nutrient Applicator Training will be held at the Conard-Pyle Nurseries in Centreville, MD. This program is hands-on. You will be able to interact with the instructors and experience the latest techniques in improving irrigation efficiency of container-grown crops. Not only is this program for those who need to renew their applicator voucher credits, some of which expire next year, but also for anyone managing an irrigation system. Learn to evaluate irrigation systems and how to perform an Irrigation Audit, a practical methods for achieving irrigation uniformity. Also, learn about how to evaluate your substrate’s physical properties and more... Attendance at this workshop awards 3 continuing education hours for Nutrient Applicator Voucher renewal or Maryland Nutrient Management Certification. This is one program that you do not want to miss. The program is free, but advanced registration is required; call University of Maryland Extension at the Wye Research and Education Center at 410-827-8056.

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