Inspection Services Blog

CDFA awards $650,000 for research and education projects to improve irrigation and nutrient management

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) is announcing $653,067 in grant funding for three projects to advance California growers’ understanding and implementation of improved nitrogen and irrigation management practices.

This funding is a result of the 2022 cycle of the competitive FREP Grant Program.

Summary of Funded Projects:

Developing Tools and Information on Irrigation and Nitrogen Best Management Practices in California’s Low Desert Lettuce Production Systems

Ali Montazar, Ph.D., University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

The objectives of this project are to fill knowledge gaps for nitrogen and irrigation management in low desert lettuce production systems. This project was awarded $224,921 to conduct experimental trials at the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center and in eight commercial fields in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. These trials will be used to develop strategies to reduce nitrogen losses and optimize irrigation water use in iceberg, romaine and leaf lettuce.

The Role of Irrigation Management for Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency for Broccoli Grown with Nitrate-Contaminated Irrigation Water

Charlotte Decock, Ph.D., California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo

Central Coast broccoli growers need help reducing nitrogen inputs and losses, made possible through the efficient use of nitrate-contaminated irrigation water. This project was awarded $203,526 to investigate the barriers to adoption of the “pump and fertilize” practice and to provide outreach and demonstration of this important farming practice.

Development of Precision Yield Monitor for Almonds and Pistachios

Patrick Brown, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

This project was awarded $224,620 to build an integrated yield monitoring system for off-ground harvesting. Developing a monitoring system that will read the yield of each individual tree, at full commercial harvest speed, will make it possible to determine yield variability across the field. This is the first step in providing targeted management to underperforming zones and increasing nitrogen use efficiency.

Since 1990, FREP has funded research on many of California’s important and environmentally sensitive cropping systems. Click here to view the FREP Research & Project Database that aims to make the wealth of information contained in FREP research projects available, understandable and convenient for growers to implement. See the Crop Fertilization Guidelines  for tips on how to improve nutrient management, based on information gleaned from research.

Click here to view this original CDFA press release.

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