A payback (PB) period calculation study was performed to evaluate the relevance of using a real-time tensiometer technology to manage irrigation in cranberries. By using wireless tensiometers collecting real-time information at different locations in the field, growers can avoid over or under irrigating some of their beds. They can also identify underlying subsurface hydrological processes that may affect crop growth. The study is based on a survey of problems encountered in the field and on the yield response associated with changes in irrigation practices in case studies and research experiments. It shows that the gains associated with the use of real-time wireless tensiometers and subsequent modifications made to drainage and irrigation in some of the beds generated a PB within a year, in most scenarios, with the price of cranberries between CAN$0.12 and $0.38 lb-1, for farm operations covering 20–400 ha (50–1000 acres).
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Vol. 97 • No. 1