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Using a field water balance methodology to assess water production functions for irrigated sugarcane (Saccharum Officinarum L.) in semi-arid environment
  • Sachin Krishanrao Dingre
Sachin Krishanrao Dingre
Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri, India

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The water production function (Ky) defines the quantitative response of the water deficit to overall yield during a given phenological stage and is a key parameter in deficit irrigation planning in water-scarce scenarios A three-year field trials were carried out on clay loam soil of semiarid India in complete randomized blocks with 27 treatments and 2 replicates. Treatments consisted of applying irrigation depths equivalents to 100%, 70% and 40% replenishments of the soil water from the root zone at development, mid-season and end stages of sugarcane. Each treatment was defined to investigate effect of specified water depth on specified phenological stage independently. The actual evapotranspiration (ETa) was determined by the field water balance of the root zone while the Ky were calculated according to the FAO-33 report methodology. In particular, during the mid-season and development stages, the referred yield decreases have been shown to be responsive to water deficits. Seasonal Ky values ranged from 1.05 to 1.18 over 3 seasons with an average value of 1.11 showing sugarcane intolerant to water deficit (Ky > 1). Based on the phenological stage ETa, Ky values for development, mid-season and end stages were 0.31, 0.76 and 0.07, respectively. Ky values calculated for development and mid-season stage in this research was different than FAO-33. It could be concluded that during mid-season, water deficit must be avoided; 30 % and 60 % water deficit are appropriate if applied respectively in the in development and end stages.