Energy Inputs for Cantaloupe Production in San Joaquin Valley, California

Athanasios Alexandrou, Panagiotis Vyrlas, Diganta Adhikari, Dave Goorahoo


Concerns of consumers have increased the pressure on companies to become more responsible toward the environment. Wal-mart for example is pilot studying the possibility of introducing an ‘energy’ label on their products. This paper studies the energy inputs on cantaloupe production in San Joaquin Valley (SJV), California. To estimate the energy required to produce a kilogram of cantaloupe information was collected on the operations and various inputs such as fertilizer and irrigation used by farmers in the cantaloupe capital of the world. The energy required to manufacture fertilizers and pesticides, to produce and use the farm machinery and energy consumed during irrigation was calculated using appropriate energy equivalents from the literature. The total energy input was calculated to be 910kJ kg-1 or 35.3 MJ ha-1. Fertilizer is the major energy input followed by irrigation and fuel. This number is relatively lower than estimates in the previous available data from 1980, and may be indicative of the adoption  and advancement in drip irrigation techniques used by many growers in the SJV,  and the improvement in cantaloupe cultivars better suited for the region.

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