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Micro-irrigation Provides Precise Application of Water and Nutrients

A micro-irrigation system applies water and nutrients to these rows of berry bushes
A micro-irrigation system applies water and nutrients to these rows of berry bushes.  Full screen view
Some of the mechanicals of the Litchfield's micro-irrigation system.
Some of the mechanicals of the Litchfield's micro-irrigation system. Full screen view
Piping associated with a micro-irrigation system
Piping associated with a micro-irrigation systemFull screen view

Keith and Nadyne Litchfield of Great Valley, New York started the Great Valley Berry Patch in 1996 with a primary crop of strawberries. Although their main focus remains strawberries, they have expanded their operation over the years to include sweet corn, raspberries, blueberries, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables.

The Litchfield’s contacted the Cattaraugus County NRCS office after seeing a news release in the local newspaper. The site assessment was conducted by NRCS that identified the opportunity to install a micro-irrigation system which would allow precise application of water and nutrients directly to the root zones of crops. This method saves thousands of gallons of water and reduces soil erosion compare to an overhead sprinkler system as it reduces leaching and evaporation.

The Great Valley Berry Patch worked with NRCS engineers, irrigation specialists, and used their own knowledge and experience to design and implement the micro-irrigation system. They are currently using an Irrigation Water Management Plan to monitor and record the details of precision irrigation, which includes seasonal rainfall, temperature, soil moisture and type, and plant growth. Application of precision micro-irrigation allows maximum crop yields and the control of potential disease and stress.

NRCS offers voluntary programs that provide financial and technical assistance to eligible agricultural producers who are willing to address priority environmental issues by implementing conservation practices. If you are interested in learning more about how conservation programs may protect natural resources on your farm, please contact your local NRCS office.

A micro-irrigation system can also be used to protect crops from frost damage
A micro-irrigation system can also be
used to protect crops from frost
damage. 
Full screen view