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Analysis of AET and yield predictions under surface and buried drip irrigation systems using the Crop Model PILOTE and Hydrus-2D


  • Mailhol, Jean Claude
  • Ruelle, Pierre
  • Walser, Sabine
  • Schütze, Niels
  • Dejean, Cyril


Innovative irrigation solutions have to face water scarcity problems affecting the Mediterranean countries. Generally, surface (DI) or subsurface drip irrigation systems (SDI) have the ability to increase water productivity (WP). But the question about their possible utilisation for crops such as corn would merit to be analysed using an appropriate economic tool. The latter would be necessary based on the utilisation of a modelling approach to identify the optimal irrigation strategy associating a water amount with a crop yield (Yc). In this perspective, a possible utilisation of the operative 1D crop model PILOTE for simulating actual evapotranspiration (AET) and yield under a 2D soil water transfer process characterizing DI and SDI was analysed. In this study, limited to a loamy soil cultivated with corn, the pertinence of the root water uptake model used in the numerical code Hydrus-2D for AET estimations of actual evapotranspiration (AET) under water stress conditions is discussed throughout the Yc = F(AET) relationship established by PILOTE on the basis of validated simulations. The conclusions of this work are (i): with slight adaptations, PILOTE can provide reliable WP estimations associated to irrigation strategies under DI and SDI, (ii): the current Hydrus-2D version used in this study underestimates AET, compared with PILOTE, in a range varying from 7% under moderate water stress conditions to 14% under severe ones, (iii): A lateral spacing of 1.6 m for the irrigation of corn with a SDI system is an appropriate solution on a loamy soil under a Mediterranean climate. A local Yc = F(AET) relationship associated with a Hydrus-2D version taking into account the compensating root uptake process could result in an interesting tool to help identify the optimal irrigation system design under different soil conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Mailhol, Jean Claude & Ruelle, Pierre & Walser, Sabine & Schütze, Niels & Dejean, Cyril, 2011. "Analysis of AET and yield predictions under surface and buried drip irrigation systems using the Crop Model PILOTE and Hydrus-2D," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(6), pages 1033-1044, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:98:y:2011:i:6:p:1033-1044

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gardenas, A.I. & Hopmans, J.W. & Hanson, B.R. & Simunek, J., 2005. "Two-dimensional modeling of nitrate leaching for various fertigation scenarios under micro-irrigation," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 219-242, June.
    2. Hanson, Blaine R. & Simunek, Jirka & Hopmans, Jan W., 2006. "Evaluation of urea-ammonium-nitrate fertigation with drip irrigation using numerical modeling," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 86(1-2), pages 102-113, November.
    3. Mubarak, Ibrahim & Mailhol, Jean Claude & Angulo-Jaramillo, Rafael & Bouarfa, Sami & Ruelle, Pierre, 2009. "Effect of temporal variability in soil hydraulic properties on simulated water transfer under high-frequency drip irrigation," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1547-1559, November.
    4. Mailhol, J. C. & Zairi, A. & Slatni, A. & Ben Nouma, B. & El Amani, H., 2004. "Analysis of irrigation systems and irrigation strategies for durum wheat in Tunisia," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 19-37, October.
    5. Patel, Neelam & Rajput, T.B.S., 2008. "Dynamics and modeling of soil water under subsurface drip irrigated onion," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 95(12), pages 1335-1349, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Albasha, Rami & Mailhol, Jean-Claude & Cheviron, Bruno, 2015. "Compensatory uptake functions in empirical macroscopic root water uptake models – Experimental and numerical analysis," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 22-39.
    2. Sebastian Kloss & Raji Pushpalatha & Kefasi Kamoyo & Niels Schütze, 2012. "Evaluation of Crop Models for Simulating and Optimizing Deficit Irrigation Systems in Arid and Semi-arid Countries Under Climate Variability," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 26(4), pages 997-1014, March.
    3. Arbat, G. & Roselló, A. & Domingo Olivé, F. & Puig-Bargués, J. & González Llinàs, E. & Duran-Ros, M. & Pujol, J. & Ramírez de Cartagena, F., 2013. "Soil water and nitrate distribution under drip irrigated corn receiving pig slurry," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 11-22.
    4. Rodrigues, Gonçalo C. & Paredes, Paula & Gonçalves, José M. & Alves, Isabel & Pereira, Luis S., 2013. "Comparing sprinkler and drip irrigation systems for full and deficit irrigated maize using multicriteria analysis and simulation modelling: Ranking for water saving vs. farm economic returns," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 85-96.


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