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Evapotranspiration and water use of full and deficit irrigated cotton in the Mediterranean environment in northern Syria

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  • Oweis, T.Y.
  • Farahani, H.J.
  • Hachum, A.Y.

Abstract

Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) is the most important industrial and summer cash crop in Syria and many other countries in the arid areas but there are concerns about future production levels, given the high water requirements and the decline in water availability. Most farmers in Syria aim to maximize yield per unit of land regardless of the quantity of water applied. Water losses can be reduced and water productivity (yield per unit of water consumed) improved by applying deficit irrigation, but this requires a better understanding of crop response to various levels of water stress. This paper presents results from a 3-year study (2004-2006) conducted in northern Syria to quantify cotton yield response to different levels of water and fertilizer. The experiment included four irrigation levels and three levels of nitrogen (N) fertilizer under drip irrigation. The overall mean cotton (lint plus seed, or lintseed) yield was 2502 kg ha-1, ranging from 1520 kg ha-1 under 40% irrigation to 3460 kg ha-1 under 100% irrigation. Mean water productivity (WPET) was 0.36 kg lintseed per m3 of crop actual evapotranspiration (ETc), ranging from 0.32 kg m-3 under 40% irrigation to 0.39 kg m-3 under the 100% treatment. Results suggest that deficit irrigation does not improve biological water productivity of drip-irrigated cotton. Water and fertilizer levels (especially the former) have significant effects on yield, crop growth and WPET. Water, but not N level, has a highly significant effect on crop ETc. The study provides production functions relating cotton yield to ETc as well as soil water content at planting. These functions are useful for irrigation optimization and for forecasting the impact of water rationing and drought on regional water budgets and agricultural economies. The WPET values obtained in this study compare well with those reported from the southwestern USA, Argentina and other developed cotton producing regions. Most importantly, these WPET values are double the current values in Syria, suggesting that improved irrigation water and system management can improve WPET, and thus enhance conservation and sustainability in this water-scarce region.

Suggested Citation

  • Oweis, T.Y. & Farahani, H.J. & Hachum, A.Y., 2011. "Evapotranspiration and water use of full and deficit irrigated cotton in the Mediterranean environment in northern Syria," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(8), pages 1239-1248, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:98:y:2011:i:8:p:1239-1248
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    2. Darouich, Hanaa & Gonçalves, José M. & Muga, André & Pereira, Luis S., 2012. "Water saving vs. farm economics in cotton surface irrigation: An application of multicriteria analysis," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 223-231.
    3. Wang, Haidong & Wu, Lifeng & Wang, Xiukang & Zhang, Shaohui & Cheng, Minghui & Feng, Hao & Fan, Junliang & Zhang, Fucang & Xiang, Youzhen, 2021. "Optimization of water and fertilizer management improves yield, water, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium uptake and use efficiency of cotton under drip fertigation," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 245(C).
    4. Eric Njuki & Boris E. Bravo-Ureta, 2019. "Examining irrigation productivity in U.S. agriculture using a single-factor approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 125-136, June.
    5. Fan, Yubing & Wang, Chenggang & Nan, Zhibiao, 2018. "Determining water use efficiency of wheat and cotton: A meta-regression analysis," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 199(C), pages 48-60.
    6. Fazlullah Akhtar & Bernhard Tischbein & Usman Awan, 2013. "Optimizing Deficit Irrigation Scheduling Under Shallow Groundwater Conditions in Lower Reaches of Amu Darya River Basin," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(8), pages 3165-3178, June.
    7. Fan, Yubing & Wang, Chenggang & Nan, Zhibiao, 2014. "Comparative evaluation of crop water use efficiency, economic analysis and net household profit simulation in arid Northwest China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 335-345.
    8. Ying Jiang & Derong Su, 2018. "Models of turfgrass seed germination related to water content," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(10), pages 1-13, October.
    9. Rao, Sajjan Singh & Tanwar, Suresh Pal Singh & Regar, Panna Lal, 2016. "Effect of deficit irrigation, phosphorous inoculation and cycocel spray on root growth, seed cotton yield and water productivity of drip irrigated cotton in arid environment," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 14-25.
    10. Campi, Pasquale & Mastrorilli, Marcello & Stellacci, Anna Maria & Modugno, Francesca & Palumbo, Angelo Domenico, 2019. "Increasing the effective use of water in green asparagus through deficit irrigation strategies," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 217(C), pages 119-130.
    11. Shareef, Muhammad & Gui, Dongwei & Zeng, Fanjiang & Waqas, Muhammad & Zhang, Bo & Iqbal, Hassan, 2018. "Water productivity, growth, and physiological assessment of deficit irrigated cotton on hyperarid desert-oases in northwest China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 206(C), pages 1-10.

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