Assessment of the Irrigation Advisory Services’ Recommendations and Farmers’ Irrigation Management: A Case Study in Southern Spain
The Local Irrigation Advisory Services (LIAS) carry out essential work to achieve an efficient use of irrigation water at field and irrigation scheme level, which is crucial in Mediterranean irrigation systems. However, it is unusual to find agronomic and economic assessments of LIAS advice. In this work, the LIAS operating in the Genil–Cabra Irrigation Scheme (southern Spain) was evaluated during the first 5 years of its advice. Acceptance by farmers of the LIAS recommendations was evaluated by using agronomic indicators, such as ARIS (Annual Relative Irrigation Supply). ARIS LIAS (actual irrigation applied v. recommendation of LIAS) with values ranging from about 0.23 for wheat and sunflower, and 0.94 for maize, also detecting a high variability between farmers, which indicated a scant acceptance of the LIAS recommendations. The economic evaluation of irrigation was made through two economic indicators, Irrigation Water Productivity (IWP) and Irrigation Water Benefit (IWB). IWP values varied significantly between different crops: around 0.23 € m −3 in wheat, sunflower and maize, about 0.53 € m −3 in cotton and sugar beet, and values higher than 2.0 € m −3 in garlic, for optimal irrigation schedules. For IWB, trends were similar, emphasizing the low IWB values in wheat and sunflower (average values of 0.06 and 0.13 € m −3 , respectively). Consideration of these economic indicators by LIAS could not only help to obtain more suitable and economically profitable irrigation schedules, but also contribute towards a greater acceptance of advisory services by farmers, by shifting the emphasis from maximizing production to maximizing irrigation profitability. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012
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Volume (Year): 26 (2012)
Issue (Month): 8 (June)
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