2012 - 2016
The aim of this pilot project is to improve the ecological sound handling of water resources in open-field vegetable production in Germany. In addition to groundwater and resource protection, the project pursues economic objectives: assuring high product qualities and quantities by enhancing irrigation techniques and scheduling. Whereas advanced techniques for irrigation and profound knowledge of demand-based irrigation scheduling are available, these methods are still not widespread. For purpose of increasing the acceptance of state-of-the-art irrigation methods, twelve vegetable farms in two German growing regions with high irrigation demand were selected as pilot enterprises. Farm managers are advised by two extension vegetable specialists in implementation and application of resource-efficient techniques and methods. At the beginning in July 2012, at one farm per region the irrigation techniques were upgraded in terms of improving irrigation uniformity and water use efficiency. From 2013 on, the extension specialist will support the farm managers in five further farms of each region in irrigation decisions and will organize workshops for interested farmers in order to multiple and publish the experiences of the involved farmers. The efficiency enhancement will be evaluated at enterprise level respectively. The governmental agricultural organizations LWK Niedersachsen and LLH Griesheim are hosting and supporting the extension specialists. The Institute of Vegetable Crop at the Geisenheim University is the coordinator of this project during the three year life span.