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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2011

From rainfed agriculture to stress-avoidance irrigation: II. Sustainability, crop yield, and profitability

Vico, Giulia; Porporato, Amilcare


The optimality of irrigation strategies may be sought with respect to a number of criteria, including water requirements, crop yield, and profitability. To explore the suitability of different demand-based irrigation strategies, we link the probabilistic description of irrigation requirements under stochastic hydroclimatic conditions, provided in a companion paper [Vico G, Porporato A. From rainfed agriculture to stress-avoidance irrigation: I. A generalized irrigation scheme with stochastic soil moisture. Adv Water Resour 2011;34(2):263-71], to crop-yield and economic analyses. Water requirements. application efficiency, and investment costs of different irrigation methods, such as surface, sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, are described via a unified conceptual and theoretical approach, which includes rainfed agriculture and stress-avoidance irrigation as extreme cases. This allows us to analyze irrigation strategies with respect to sustainability, productivity, and economic return, using the same framework, and quantify them as a function of climate, crop, and soil parameters. We apply our results to corn (Zea mays), a food staple and biofuel source, which is currently mainly irrigated through surface systems. As our analysis shows, micro-irrigation maximizes water productivity, but more traditional solutions may be more profitable at least in some contexts. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Stochastic soil water balance; Irrigation; Crop yield; Profitability; Sustainability; Rainfall variability

Publicerad i

Advances in Water Resources
2011, Volym: 34, nummer: 2, sidor: 272-281

    UKÄ forskningsämne

    Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
    Agricultural Science

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