Cultivar Traits Related to Tomato Water Use Efficiency and Yield Under Low Water Availability
To maintain the competitiveness of the California processing tomato industry under decreased water availability, new strategies for crop management will need to integrate cultivar traits that enhance crop performance under lower water inputs. Cultivar traits are increasingly recognized as important for future crop adaptation to new management practices and yield gains. Growers are already increasing their water use efficiency, but information on cultivar traits can help them choose the best cultivar to increase crop performance in wet vs. dry years.
Irrigation management under low water availability is becoming increasingly important. When faced with a drought year in California, tomato growers typically choose to manage their fields in several different ways. They may decrease the acreage planted or find alternative sources of water to allow typical irrigation application rates. Alternatively they may choose to use a form of deficit irrigation, either a full season deficit, or some terminal deficit or irrigation cutoff (http://ucmanagedrought.ucdavis.edu/Agriculture/Crop_Irrigation_Strategies/Processing_Tomatoes/).
We seek to understand what traits might be useful for breeding into production cultivars that might allow for better performance under low water conditions. We also plan on assessing how those traits are impacted by different approaches to irrigation management.
Preliminary Results: Tomatoes under deficit irrigation (HM2013 and 2014)