Pomegranate is known as a drought tolerant crop, yet regular irrigation is mandatory to commercial yield production. Water levels and optimal irrigation regime depend on a plurality of factors as soil type, tree size, physiological phase and potential evaporation. As a rule the tree needs little supplemental irrigation. The commonly used irrigation regime in pomegranate orchards relies mainly on the experience gained by growers and less on formal experiments led in Israel and/ or other countries. Situation Fruit and agro-industrial crop Climatic change & water scarcity concerns Rising fertilizer & labour costs Leaching and washing away of nutrients by runoff Low water & fertilizer use efficiency Low productivity/ha

Need for drip

Economic importance of pomegranate in meeting growing demand To conserve water, increase water & fertilizer use efficiency and optimize cane yields

Grower name

Mr. Ilan Cohen,
Email: ilano@012.net.il;
Mobile: 00972-50-9833814
Fax: 00972-7-77005484

Farm details

Location: Sdey-Yaacov (32° 07′ 0″ N-latitude, 35° 13′ 0″ E-longitude), Israel Valley, Afula, Israel
Area: 12 ha
Crop varieties: Wonderful, Shani, Black, Akov, 116, Mollar (from Spain)
Crop spacing: Row to row – 7.0 m and Plant to plant – 4.0 m
Year of planting: 2002
Propagation: Seedlings developed from Cuttings
Plant population at harvest: 357 plants/ha
Crop season: Flowering in March-April and harvesting in September-October every year
Climate: Equatorial humid climate with dry winter, Frost free, Maximum temperature – °C, Minimum temperature – °C, Mean vapour pressure hPa, mean wind speed km/hour, day length hours, sunshine duration hours, Total rainfall – mm/year, Effective rainfall – mm/year and Reference crop evapotranspiration – mm/year, Moisture availability index. Soil physical properties: Clayey soil texture; soil pH – 7.8 and bulk density – 1.4 g/cm3; Water table below 6 m
Water source: Reservoir
Power source: Gravity pressure

Agro-solution: What has been done

Subsurface drip irrigation system: Head control unit, main & sub-main pipes besides UniRam integral dripline 16 mm diameter, with a lateral spacing of 3.5 m (2 driplines per each row spaced at 7 m), emitter spacing of 0.5 m and emitter flow rate 1.6 Litres/hour. Each crop row was irrigated with two laid out on soil surface.
Year of drip system installation: 2002
Agronomic & Technical support: Varietal selection; Pruning; Soil preparation; Crop water requirement & irrigation scheduling (depth and frequency of water application; water quality consideration, measurement of applied water) & fertigation scheduling (soil & water analysis, estimation of nutrient dose, selection of fertilizers & compatibility, application skill via drip system, foliar diagnosis for nutrient deficiencies etc); System operation (pressure reading & maintenance, valves operation, measurement of applied water) & maintenance (cleaning of filters, fertilizer tank, acid treatment, chlorination etc).
Training & capacity building: Soil water plant relationships, drip irrigation & fertigation principles, benefits, limitations & utility; water quality & herbicide usage.

Results

Improved total fruit yield: Surface drip 45 to 48 tons/ha)
Yield under control plots: 25 to 35 tons/ha
Improved fruit quality: Large & uniform size (> 450 g/fruit) and bright colour.
Irrigation water requirement: Surface drip 4500 m3/ha ( mm/ha)
Saving in water over conventional irrigation scheduling practice: 3000 m3/ha
Additional area irrigated by saved water: 0.66 ha.
Other benefits: Saving in fuel expenses, uniform flowering, higher fruit size, bright fruit colour, bold arils; improvement in fertilizer use efficiency, management flexibility, less weed growth, uniform irrigation of pomegranate on undulated terrains etc

Impact

Drip irrigation of pomegranate in Israel is a feasible eco-technological and economically viable technology Use of scarce water resources sustainably in pomegranate cultivation to bring larger area under cane cultivation Higher productivity & improved fruit quality and increased income to farmers Pomegranate best management practices – Variety, Pruning, Surface or Subsurface Drip Irrigation & Fertigation scheduling

Grow More: 37% Fruit yield
With Less: Water saving 66%