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Aeration of irrigation water for improvements in pineapple crop health and yield
Pineapple in QLD Australia is predominately cultivated under rain-fed conditions. Unpredictable weather conditions and rainfall patterns coupled with episodes of drought events expose the crop to water stress which has severe consequences on the pineapple crop, on the uniformity of its growth and development, and on crop yield and quality of fruits. Pineapple crop management systems that are resilient to the effect of such climate change are imperative for a sustainable and vibrating pineapple industry. Introduction of aerated drip system can be pivotal in addressing issues of improving water use for irrigation and minimising the infestation by phytophthora in pineapple crop. This report presents information on research on this topic. A field trial in collaboration with Valley Syndicate Pineapple Farm in Yeppon over 2007-2011 evaluated the effect of aerated water for drip irrigation. Use of aerated water for drip irrigation increased by 11% the marketable fruit yield to 73.2 t/ha compared to 65.9 t/ha with no-irrigation, and 69.2 t/ha in an irrigated control. Aerated irrigation water also reduced phytophthora presence from 11 % to 3%, compared to 5% noted for the control drip irrigation. Use of aerated drip irrigation demonstrated multiple benefits for yield, quality and crop disease management and could be beneficial for industrywide adoption.