Accurate estimation of crop evapotranspiration (ET) is critical for agricultural water resource management and proper irrigation scheduling. The 2-year field experimental data of processing tomato under plastic-mulched drip and basin irrigation in the Hetao Irrigation District (Hetao), located in the upper reaches of the Yellow river, were used to calibrate and validate the SIMDualKc model. The model adopted the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) dual Kc
method for partitioning ET into plant transpiration and soil evaporation. The results showed a good agreement between soil water observations and simulations throughout the growing seasons with a low error estimate and high model efficiency. The calibrated basal potential crop coefficients for the initial stage, mid-season stage, and late stage were 0.30, 0.92, and 0.60, respectively. ET during the two growing seasons was in the range of 284–331 mm for basin irrigation and 266–310 mm for drip irrigation. The average soil evaporation accounted for 5% of ET in 2015 and 14% of ET in 2016 for drip irrigation treatments, while it accounted for 4% and 13% of ET for basin irrigation treatments in the two experimental years, indicating that transpiration was the dominant component of ET of processing tomato under plastic mulch in Hetao. The highest water productivity was obtained from the drip irrigation treatment. The SIMDualKc model is an appropriate tool to estimate crop ET and may be further used to improve local irrigation scheduling for processing tomato in the upper reaches of the Yellow river.
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