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Crop and Tillage Effects on Water Productivity of Dryland Agriculture in Argentina

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  • Elke Noellemeyer

    ()
    (College of Agriculture, National University of La Pampa, Santa Rosa, L.P., Argentina)

  • Romina Fernández

    ()
    (College of Agriculture, National University of La Pampa, Santa Rosa, L.P., Argentina
    National Institute for Agricultural Technology, Experimental Station "Guillermo Covas", Anguil, L.P., Argentina)

  • Alberto Quiroga

    ()
    (College of Agriculture, National University of La Pampa, Santa Rosa, L.P., Argentina
    National Institute for Agricultural Technology, Experimental Station "Guillermo Covas", Anguil, L.P., Argentina)

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    Abstract

    Rising demands for food and uncertainties about climate change call for a paradigm shift in water management with a stronger focus on rainfed agriculture. The objective here was to estimate water productivity of different crops under no-till (NT) and conventional till (CT), in order to identify rotations that improve the water productivity of dryland agriculture. We hypothesized that NT and cereal crops would have a positive effect on overall water productivity. Crop yield and water use data were obtained from a 15 year experiment (1993 to 2008) on an entic Haplustoll in the semiarid Pampa, Argentina, with a rotation of wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.), corn ( Zea mays L.), sunflower ( Helianthus annus ), and soybean ( Glycine max L. Merr.) . The results indicated an improved water productivity of all crops under NT compared with that of CT; however, the response of cereals (corn +1.0 kg ha −1 mm −1 , wheat +1.3 kg ha −1 mm −1 ) was higher than that of sunflower (+0.3 kg ha −1 mm −1 ) and soybean (+0.5 kg ha −1 mm −1 ). Crop type had a higher impact on water productivity than did tillage system. In agreement with our hypothesis, cereal crops were more efficient (corn 9.8 and wheat 6.9 kg ha −1 mm −1 ) compared with soybean 2.4 and sunflower 3.9 kg mm −1 , but the economic water productivity of sunflower (0.9 US$ ha −1 mm −1 ) almost equaled that of wheat (1.1 US$ ha −1 mm −1 ) and corn (1.2 US$ ha −1 mm −1 ). We concluded that the use of the synergy between NT and water efficient crops could be a promising step towards improving food production in semiarid regions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Agriculture.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 1-11

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jagris:v:3:y:2013:i:1:p:1-11:d:22625

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    Related research

    Keywords: water productivity; cereals; oilseeds; trade price; energy contents;

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