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Research-based recommendations and trainings for irrigation in specialty crops in
Arkansas have previously been lacking, and horticulture crop producers frequently
struggle with efficiently managing irrigation. In order to develop better irrigation
practices for specialty crops, Arkansas's first horticulture discovery farm was established
in 2019 in conjunction with Mark and Steve Morgan of Peach Pickin' Paradise in Johnson
Horticulture Production Extension Specialist
Soil & Water Conservation Extension Specialist
Program Associate- Horticulture
Mark and Steve Morgan are the owners and operators of Peach Pickin’ Paradise, a pick
your own operation with over 20 varieties of peaches and nectarines located in Johnson
County, Arkansas. The Morgan family has been farming peaches and nectarines since
the 1920’s and are well respected in their community and across the state. This made
them ideal candidates for hosting a specialty crop Discovery Farm as they are already
model growers who other growers look to as an example of success.
The two key areas being monitored at Peach Pickin’ Paradise were irrigation water
quality and scheduling. The Morgan’s water sources are regularly sampled to ensure
compliance with federal food safety regulations under the Food Safety Modernization
Act (FSMA). Multiple moisture sensors were also installed in both newly planted and
established peach trees. The sensors allow us to record and monitor water application
patterns and scheduling as well as temperature, wind speed, humidity, and rainfall.
Plant tissue nutrient samples are also collected to see how improved irrigation patterns
might impact uptake by the trees.
***MORE TO COME SOON***