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Article

Assessing the Effectiveness of Variable-Rate Drip Irrigation on Water Use Efficiency in a Vineyard in Northern Italy

Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(10), 1964; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11101964
Received: 24 August 2019 / Revised: 12 September 2019 / Accepted: 16 September 2019 / Published: 20 September 2019
Although many studies in the literature illustrate the numerous devices and methodologies nowadays existing for assessing the spatial variability within agricultural fields, and indicate the potential for variable-rate irrigation (VRI) in vineyards, only very few works deal with the implementation of VRI systems to manage such heterogeneity, and these studies are usually conducted in experimental fields for research aims. In this study, a VR drip irrigation system was designed for a 1-ha productive vineyard in Northern Italy and managed during the agricultural season 2018, to demonstrate feasibility and effectiveness of a water supply differentiated according to the spatial variability detected in field. Electrical resistivity maps obtained by means of an electro-magnetic induction sensor were used to detect four homogeneous zones with similar soil properties. In each zone, a soil profile was opened, and soil samples were taken and analyzed in laboratory. Two irrigation management zones (MZs) were identified by grouping homogeneous zones on the basis of their hydrological properties, and an irrigation prescription map was built consistently with the total available water (TAW) content in the root zone of the two MZs. The designed drip irrigation system consisted of three independent sectors: the first two supplied water to the two MZs, while the third sector (reference sector) was managed following the farmer’s habits. During the season, irrigation in the first two sectors was fine-tuned using information provided by soil moisture probes installed in each sector. Results showed a reduction of water use by 18% compared to the ‘reference’ sector without losses in yield and product quality, and a grape’s maturation more homogeneous in time. View Full-Text
Keywords: precision agriculture; variable-rate drip irrigation; site specific management; vineyard drip irrigation; management zones; spatial variability management; precision irrigation precision agriculture; variable-rate drip irrigation; site specific management; vineyard drip irrigation; management zones; spatial variability management; precision irrigation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ortuani, B.; Facchi, A.; Mayer, A.; Bianchi, D.; Bianchi, A.; Brancadoro, L. Assessing the Effectiveness of Variable-Rate Drip Irrigation on Water Use Efficiency in a Vineyard in Northern Italy. Water 2019, 11, 1964. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11101964

AMA Style

Ortuani B, Facchi A, Mayer A, Bianchi D, Bianchi A, Brancadoro L. Assessing the Effectiveness of Variable-Rate Drip Irrigation on Water Use Efficiency in a Vineyard in Northern Italy. Water. 2019; 11(10):1964. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11101964

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ortuani, Bianca; Facchi, Arianna; Mayer, Alice; Bianchi, Davide; Bianchi, Andrea; Brancadoro, Lucio. 2019. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Variable-Rate Drip Irrigation on Water Use Efficiency in a Vineyard in Northern Italy" Water 11, no. 10: 1964. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11101964

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