Special Issue "Agricultural Water Management"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Use and Irrigation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Borin
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and the Environment, University of Padova, Padova, Veneto, Italy
Interests: agriculture water relationships; water quality and irrigation; controlled drainage; ecosystem services; aquaponics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate projections show that extreme weather events worldwide are very likely to become more frequent, with higher occurrence of intense droughts and floods, leading to yield losses and problems to water management at basin scale. Agriculture, being the largest user of fresh water and the most diffused activity in the anthropized ecosystems, can play a pivotal role in a sustainable and integrated water management.

Therefore, agricultural research has to provide innovative, realistic and holistic solutions to improve water productivity (achieving more crop per drop) for rainfed and irrigated cropping systems.

At the same time, increasing attention has to be deserved to water quality issues: on one side agriculture can act as non-point source of pollution, on the other polluted waters coming from urban and industrial areas can damage crop yield and soil quality if used for irrigation.

Finally, the agricultural territories can provide important ecosystem services related to water management, as purification and fluxes regulation.

According to this vision, agricultural water management is a complex topic and this special issue calls for classical contributions related to crop stress, irrigation, drainage and rainfed cropping systems as well as papers related with water quality and agriculture interactions and ecosystem services. Plant, plot, field and territorial scales are all welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Borin
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • climate change
  • crop water stress
  • irrigation
  • drainage
  • water quality
  • ecosystem services

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Clogging Rules of Ceramic Emitter in Irrigation Using Saline Water with Different EC
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080436 - 08 Aug 2019
Abstract
Infiltration irrigation with saline water is a more effective method than drip irrigation to alleviate water scarcity worldwide, but so far, no report has discussed the clogging rules of ceramic emitters, a major component of infiltration irrigation system. To explore the clogging mechanism [...] Read more.
Infiltration irrigation with saline water is a more effective method than drip irrigation to alleviate water scarcity worldwide, but so far, no report has discussed the clogging rules of ceramic emitters, a major component of infiltration irrigation system. To explore the clogging mechanism of ceramic emitter in saline water infiltration irrigation system, we used four kinds of saline water sources with electrical conductivity (EC) of 0.18, 1.74, 3.78, and 7.74 ds/m, respectively. In addition, we specifically investigated the law of discharge ratio variation (Dra) of ceramic emitters, as well as the composition and growth process of clogging substance. The results indicated that the Dra of ceramic emitters decreased in the process of saline water irrigation, and the higher the EC, the more obvious the decrease. The calcium carbonate (CaCO3) was the main component of the clogging substance in the inner wall of ceramic emitters. The clogging part was a layer on the inner wall of the emitters rather than the pores in the walls, and the clogging did not occur suddenly. Instead, it was caused by the long–term accumulation of the clogging substance. Moreover, with the increase of EC, the flocculation between the clogging particles in the water was enhanced and thus promoted the formation of stable and compact aggregates, which fundamentally led to the clogging acceleration of ceramic emitters. This clogging mechanism of ceramic emitters can provide some theoretical reference for the establishment of anti-clogging strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Potential of Cereal Production Systems to Adapt to Contrasting Weather Conditions in the Mediterranean Region
Agronomy 2019, 9(7), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9070393 - 17 Jul 2019
Abstract
Variable rainfall, water stress, and spring frost are the main challenges for cereal growers in the Mediterranean region. The potential of wheat and barley to adapt to contrasting weather conditions was investigated through the adoption of no-till, supplemental irrigation and drought tolerant cultivars [...] Read more.
Variable rainfall, water stress, and spring frost are the main challenges for cereal growers in the Mediterranean region. The potential of wheat and barley to adapt to contrasting weather conditions was investigated through the adoption of no-till, supplemental irrigation and drought tolerant cultivars over a period of three years. Seasonal precipitation was 732, 336 and 685 mm in the first, second and third seasons, respectively. The second and third seasons were characterized by the occurrence of spring frost. No tillage did not affect productivity in either crop, while supplemental irrigation increased yield only in barley. For wheat, the grain yield was 60 and 43% respectively lower in the second and third seasons than in the first season. For barley, grain yield was 43% higher in the first season than the other two. The negative effect of frost on wheat yield was indirectly assessed by crop growth simulation. Principal component analysis shows that freezing temperatures associated with spring frost and rainfall both dictated crop growth and productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Multi-Year N and P Removal of a 10-Year-Old Surface Flow Constructed Wetland Treating Agricultural Drainage Waters
Agronomy 2019, 9(4), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9040170 - 29 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Surface flow constructed wetlands (SFCWs) can be effectively used to treat agricultural drainage waters, reducing N and P surface water pollution. In the Venice Lagoon drainage basin (northeastern Italy), an SFCW was monitored during 2007–2013 to assess its performance in reducing water, N, [...] Read more.
Surface flow constructed wetlands (SFCWs) can be effectively used to treat agricultural drainage waters, reducing N and P surface water pollution. In the Venice Lagoon drainage basin (northeastern Italy), an SFCW was monitored during 2007–2013 to assess its performance in reducing water, N, and P loads more than 10 years after its creation. Nitrogen concentrations showed peaks during winter due to intense leaching from surrounding fields. Phosphorus concentrations were higher after prolonged periods with no discharge, likely due to mobilization of P of the decomposing litter inside the basin. Over the entire period, N removal efficiency was 83% for NO3–N and 79% for total N; P removal efficiency was 48% for PO4–P and 67% for total P. Values were higher than in several other studies, likely due to the fluctuating hydroperiod that produced discontinuous and reduced outflows. Nitrogen outlet concentrations were reduced by the SFCW, and N removal ratios decreased with increasing hydraulic loading, while no strong correlations were found in the case of P. The SFCW was shown to be an effective long-term strategy to increase water storage and reduce N and P loads in the Venice Lagoon drainage basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Roots of Lucerne Seedlings are More Resilient to a Water Deficit than Leaves or Stems
Agronomy 2019, 9(3), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9030123 - 07 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Drought is one of the most harmful environmental stresses affecting the physiological, biochemical processes and growth of plants. Lucerne or alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), one of the most popular pasture species in arid and semi-arid regions, plays a critical role in sustaining [...] Read more.
Drought is one of the most harmful environmental stresses affecting the physiological, biochemical processes and growth of plants. Lucerne or alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), one of the most popular pasture species in arid and semi-arid regions, plays a critical role in sustaining agricultural systems in many areas of the world. In order to evaluate the effect of water shortage on water status, biomass distribution and proline content, the relative water content (RWC), biomass and proline concentration in the leaves, stems and roots of lucerne seedlings under three different water regimes were studied in pots under a rainout shelter. The results showed that after water was withheld, the RWC of the different organs decreased significantly; at the same soil water content, the leaf RWC was higher than that of the stem and root. The biomass of the leaves, stems and roots were all reduced by water stress, while the root–shoot ratio increased indicating that the roots were less affected than the leaves and stems. Proline concentration increased with decreasing soil water content with the leaf proline concentration increasing more than that of stems and roots. These results indicate that roots of lucerne seedlings show greater resilience to water deficits than shoots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Water Supply on Spectral Traits and Their Relationship with the Productivity of Sweet Corns
Agronomy 2019, 9(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9020063 - 31 Jan 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Three super-sweet corn hybrids (Zea mays L. convar. saccharata) with different ripening characteristics were grown in three water supplies (regularly irrigated, deficit-irrigated, and unirrigated) to examine the spectral reflectance at leaf and canopy levels, leaf area index (LAI) during the stage of [...] Read more.
Three super-sweet corn hybrids (Zea mays L. convar. saccharata) with different ripening characteristics were grown in three water supplies (regularly irrigated, deficit-irrigated, and unirrigated) to examine the spectral reflectance at leaf and canopy levels, leaf area index (LAI) during the stage of development and their relationship with the yield and nutritional quality. Under unirrigated conditions, the plant’s height, diameter, and weight of ears per plants, as well as total carotenoid content of kernels, decreased, SPAD values of leaves, normalized vegetation differential index (NDVI) and LAI were low. The difference in SPAD and LAI was higher between the hybrids during the silking than the tasseling period under water deficiency. Under unirrigated dry conditions, no correlation was found between SPAD, NDVI, and yield. Using deficit irrigation, SPAD measured during tasseling correlated closely with the individual husked ear and the final yields as well as the sugar and carotene contents of kernels. Under this condition, NDVI did not correlate with the yield, but LAI was correlated with the yield and its carotene content. Under deficit irrigated conditions, the 46 to 49 range of SPAD measured during tasseling predicted 23.5 to 26.7 t ha−1 depending on the hybrid, but this range predicted a yield lower by 6.4 to 10.1% during silking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Reuse of Agriculture Drainage Water in a Mixed Land-Use Watershed
Agronomy 2019, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9010006 - 22 Dec 2018
Abstract
Water demand in Korea has triggered the need for fresh water to be used for agriculture. Agricultural drainage water (ADW) is a way of coping with the growing demand for fresh water for agriculture. In this study, a water quality model (WQM), and [...] Read more.
Water demand in Korea has triggered the need for fresh water to be used for agriculture. Agricultural drainage water (ADW) is a way of coping with the growing demand for fresh water for agriculture. In this study, a water quality model (WQM), and an algorithm were used in order to determine the water quality and optimize the water reuse quantity in the Osan stream drain, South Korea. The water quality associated with the drain was stimulated using the QUAL2Kw model and the uncertainty analysis and sensitivity analysis with the use of Monte Carlos Simulation was performed to determine the performance of the WQM. Jaya algorithm technology was used as an optimization tool to find optimal ADW reuse quantities at particular withdrawal points. For calibration and validation, the model was applied twice for both summer and winter seasons. The results show that the reuse quantities represent 77.2% and 49.8% of the available ADW in the study area for summer and winter, respectively, representing 49.1% and 54.5% of seasonal canal delivery. The utilization of the simulation-optimization model is usually well suited for decision support leading to near-optimum reuse assortment of ADW for irrigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of FAO AquaCrop Model for Simulating Rainfed Maize Growth and Yields in Uganda
Agronomy 2018, 8(11), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8110238 - 25 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Uganda’s agriculture is mainly rainfed. While farmers make efforts to increase food output to respond to the demands of a fast growing population, they are vulnerable to losses attributed to fluctuating weather patterns due to the global climate change. Therefore, it is necessary [...] Read more.
Uganda’s agriculture is mainly rainfed. While farmers make efforts to increase food output to respond to the demands of a fast growing population, they are vulnerable to losses attributed to fluctuating weather patterns due to the global climate change. Therefore, it is necessary to explore ways of improving production in rainfed agricultural systems to save farmers labour and input costs in situations where the grain harvest would be zero due to crop failure. In this study, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) AquaCrop model was evaluated for its predictability potential of maize growth and yields. The study was conducted at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) in Uganda for three seasons. Maize growth and yield data was collected during the following seasons: Season 1, September to December 2014; Season 2, March to July 2015; and Season 3, September to December 2015. The model was calibrated using season 1 canopy cover data. The relative errors of simulated canopy cover ranged from −0.3% to −13.58% for different stages of the crop growth. The deviation of the simulated final biomass from measured data for the three seasons ranged from −15.4% to 11.6%, while the deviation of the final yield ranged from −2.8 to 2.0. These results suggest that FAO AquaCrop can be used in the prediction of rainfed agricultural outputs, and hence, has greater potential to guide management practices towards increasing food production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Response of Soil Water and Wheat Yield to Rainfall and Temperature Change on the Loess Plateau, China
Agronomy 2018, 8(7), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8070101 - 27 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Understanding the influences of rainfall and temperature on soil water and the grain production of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), is of great importance to ensure the sustainability of food production on the Loess Plateau of China. Based on calibration and evaluation, [...] Read more.
Understanding the influences of rainfall and temperature on soil water and the grain production of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), is of great importance to ensure the sustainability of food production on the Loess Plateau of China. Based on calibration and evaluation, the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model was employed to determine the response of soil water and winter wheat to rainfall and temperature changing over the last 30 years in different regions. Results showed that (1) the EPIC model simulated soil water content well in 0–2 m soil, with a relative root mean square error (RRMSE) value of 6.0~14.0%, and the mean value of R2 was 0.824, which was similar to the value of ME (0.815); (2) rainfall decreased 13.6–24.9% more from 2001 to 2010 than it did during 1961–2000, while its minimum and maximum temperature increased 1.00–1.55 °C and 0.30–0.84 °C respectively, in comparison with 1961–2000; (3) both the increase of maximum temperature and the decrease of rainfall were harmful to the production of winter wheat. Contrarily, the increase of minimum temperature was beneficial to the production of winter wheat on the Loess Plateau of China. Furthermore, due to rainfall decreasing, the winter wheat yield of Luochuan, Changwu, Yuncheng, and Yan’an decreased by 8.5%, 7.6%, 11.7%, and 12.3%, respectively. Because of the rising of the maximum temperature, winter wheat yield decreased 6.4%, 6.8%, 7.2%, and −3.0%, respectively. On the other hand, the increase of the minimum temperature raised the winter wheat yield of 8.8%, 10.2%, 1.5%, and 12.0%, respectively. Climate change, either precipitation reduction or temperature increase, decreased soil water in the dry land winter wheat field. Therefore, more water-saving technologies are needed to adapt to climate change, to store and use water sources more effectively in semi-arid regions. Though precipitation reduction and maximum temperature increase produced negative impacts on winter wheat yield, the uptrend in minimum temperature is better for increasing the winter wheat yield, which can be used by farmers and governments to adapt to climate change, by adjusting planting time properly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Response of Soybean Development and Yield to Drought Stress during Different Growth Stages in the Huaibei Plain, China
Agronomy 2018, 8(7), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8070097 - 21 Jun 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
To quantitatively access the effects of drought stress during different growth stages of soybean on development process and yield, a pot-culture experiment was conducted in China’s Huaibei Plain with different irrigation treatments over two seasons (2015 and 2016). Two drought stress levels (mild [...] Read more.
To quantitatively access the effects of drought stress during different growth stages of soybean on development process and yield, a pot-culture experiment was conducted in China’s Huaibei Plain with different irrigation treatments over two seasons (2015 and 2016). Two drought stress levels (mild and severe) were applied at four growth stages for the experiment (S: seedling stage; B: branching stage; FPS: flowering and pod-setting stage; and PF: pod-filling stage). The effects of drought stress at different stages on growth and yield were evaluated and compared. Results of this two-year study showed that all growth and yield parameters were significantly affected by the water deficit during the sensitive FPS. Compared to the full irrigation treatment, severe drought stress during FPS caused a 22% loss of final plant height, 61% loss of the leaf area per plant (LAP), and 67% loss of final aboveground dry matter (ADM). Yield components also declined dramatically with water deficits during FPS and PF. Significant seed yield losses of 73–82% per plant were observed in the plants exposed to drought stress during FPS, and were also associated with the highest nonviable pod percentage of 13%. The greatest losses in 100-seed weight (42–48%) were observed under drought stress during PF. A rising trend in response to increasing soil water deficit (SWD) was observed for LAP, yield, and ADM losses. The slope (k) values of these fitting curves varied at different treatments, the highest value of k (7.37 and 8.47 in two years, respectively) was also observed in the sensitive FPS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Agronomic Basis and Strategies for Precision Water Management: A Review
Agronomy 2019, 9(2), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9020087 - 14 Feb 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
Agriculture faces the challenge of feeding a growing population with limited or depleting fresh water resources. Advances in irrigation systems and technologies allow site-specific application of irrigation water within the field to improve water use efficiency or reduce water usage for sustainable crop [...] Read more.
Agriculture faces the challenge of feeding a growing population with limited or depleting fresh water resources. Advances in irrigation systems and technologies allow site-specific application of irrigation water within the field to improve water use efficiency or reduce water usage for sustainable crop production, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. This paper discusses recent development of variable-rate irrigation (VRI) technologies, data and information for VRI application, and impacts of VRI, including profitability using this technology, with a focus on agronomic factors in precision water management. The development in sprinkler systems enabled irrigation application with greater precision at the scale of individual nozzle control. Further research is required to evaluate VRI prescription maps integrating different soil and crop characteristics in different environments. On-farm trials and whole-field studies are needed to provide support information for practical VRI applications. Future research also needs to address the adjustment of the spatial distribution of prescription zones in response to temporal variability in soil water status and crop growing conditions, which can be evaluated by incorporating remote and proximal sensing data. Comprehensive decision support tools are required to help the user decide where to apply how much irrigation water at different crop growth stages to optimize water use and crop production based on the regional climate conditions and cropping systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Water Management)
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