Environmentally Sound Irrigation and Fertility Systems for Sweet Cherry Crops in the Pacific Northwest

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2005: $19,585.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Clark Seavert
Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research Center


  • Fruits: cherries


  • Crop Production: fertigation, irrigation
  • Education and Training: display, extension
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study, agricultural finance
  • Pest Management: biological control, economic threshold
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Oregon’s mid Columbia region boasts the nation’s highest concentration of sweet cherry orchards. Many cherry producers, in hopes of preventing yield loss, apply too much water and nitrogen, both abundant and inexpensive. However, applying excess water and nitrogen fertilizer can cause soil erosion, nutrient leaching, herbicide runoff into streams and rivers and loss of nitrogenous gases into atmosphere. In addition, excess nitrogen can cause nitrate to accumulate in the cherries, creating a potential health hazard. In this Western SARE Professional + Producer project, Clark Seavert, an ag economist and superintendent of the Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research Center, will conduct field experiments at private orchards to examine the effects of drip irrigation and fertigation production systems on the fruit and the environment. He’ll also look at the cost and economic return of such systems for cherry production and test several ground cover management systems for their effects on the soil and the fruit.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.