Oregon carrot seed growers move to drip irrigation, saving water

03/18/2014 10:18:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

Oregon producers, who grow about 85 percent of the nation's carrot seeds, have cut water use in half by transitioning to drip from overhead sprinklers.

In addition, they saw yields jump an average of 22 percent, with germination increasing up to 5 percent, according to a news release.

carrot flowersCourtesy Agricultural Research ServiceCarrots irrigated with drip irrigation yield more seed than those under overhead sprinklers.

R">Although more studies need to be done, growers also expect drip irrigation will reduce Xanthomonas, a bacterial pathogen that can be spread by splashing water, including that fro sprinklers.

Now more than 75 percent of the 4,000 acres of carrot seed in central Oregon is on drip.

“It’s pretty obvious that crops under drip irrigation do better,” Brad Holliday, a field representative for Central Oregon Seeds, said in the release.

Growers using drip also receive higher prices for their seed because quality and yield are ore consistent than with sprinkler-irrigated seed.



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