SWEEP in Grapes
Spotlight on SWEEP: Table Grapes
Author: Shulamit Shroder
In 2016 and 2017, Anthony Vineyards in Kern and Riverside Counties received funds from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program. They used the grants to install flowmeters, irrigation monitoring stations, soil tensiometers, and weather stations in table grape vineyards.
They already had a similar, but more labor-intensive, system in place, so they did not have trouble analyzing the soil moisture and weather station data.
Water usage: Their overall water usage has decreased, because now they can monitor soil moisture conditions every day, instead of having to take samples every week. Now they can make weekly irrigation schedules based on this data instead of a predetermined, set amount of water.
Yields: They have been able to maintain the same level of yields, but with less water – so they are getting more crop per drop. For this reason, Anthony Vineyards grower John Kovacevich would recommend SWEEP grants to other farmers who want to improve their irrigation systems.