Special Issue "Optimizing Plant Water Use Efficiency for a Sustainable Environment"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ivan Francisco Garcia Tejero
Website
Guest Editor
Instituto Andaluz de Investigación y Formación Agraria y Pesquera (IFAPA), Centro "Las Torres-Tomejil", Ctra. Sevilla-Cazalla km. 12,2, 41.200 Alcalá del Río, Sevilla, Spain
Interests: water stress; crop physiology; deficit-irrigation strategies; crop-water monitoring; soil conservation; conservation agriculture
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Victor Hugo Durán-Zuazo
Website
Guest Editor
Instituto Andaluz de Investigación y Formación Agraria y Pesquera (IFAPA), Centro “Camino de Purchil”, Camino de Purchil s/n, 18004, Granada, Spain
Interests: water stress; crop physiology; deficit-irrigation strategies; crop-water monitoring; soil conservation; conservation agriculture
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to present this Special Issue focused on the most remarkable research experiences about water use efficiency in agriculture, specially under semi-arid conditions and Climate Change scenarios.

Water scarcity is the most limiting constraint in agriculture, together with the soil degradation and the imbalance between sustainability, competitiveness and food demand. In this agreement it is worth to deepen about those strategies and production systems able to reach competitive yields, enhancing the quality of products, preserving the food security, and all of them, within an equilibrium in environmental terms.

Implementing new tools to assess the crop water status, monitoring the continuous soil-plant-atmosphere system, or integrating information systems based on big-data and smart farming tools will reinforce the actual knowledge to offer an appropriate response to the actual challenges to achieve a higher water use efficiency in irrigated and rainfed systems. Moreover, the introduction of resilient crops to water scarcity scenarios or the strengthening of sustainable practices of water resources management will enhance the consolidation of rural population, the agricultural competitiveness and the environmental sustainability.

Dr. Ivan Francisco Garcia Tejero
Dr. Victor Hugo Durán-Zuazo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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

  • deficit-irrigation
  • crop-water requirements
  • smart farming
  • crop-production functions
  • food quality
  • remote sensing
  • crop physiological response to drought scenarios

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Cultivar Dependent Impact on Yield and Its Components of Young Almond Trees under Sustained-Deficit Irrigation in Semi-Arid Environments
Agronomy 2020, 10(5), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10050733 - 20 May 2020
Abstract
Almond (Prunus dulcis Mill. (D.A. Webb)) plantations in irrigated semi-arid areas need to successfully face the new scenarios of climate change combining sustainable irrigation strategies and tolerant cultivars to water stress. This work examines the response of young almond (cvs. [...] Read more.
Almond (Prunus dulcis Mill. (D.A. Webb)) plantations in irrigated semi-arid areas need to successfully face the new scenarios of climate change combining sustainable irrigation strategies and tolerant cultivars to water stress. This work examines the response of young almond (cvs. Guara, Marta, and Lauranne) subjected to different irrigation doses under semi-arid conditions (South-West Spain). The trial was conducted during two seasons (2018–2019) with three irrigation strategies: A full-irrigated treatment (FI), which received 100% of the irrigation requirements (IR), and two sustained-deficit irrigation strategies that received 75% (SDI75) and 65% (SDI65) of IR. Crop water status was assessed by leaf water potential (Ψleaf) and stomatal conductance (gs) measurements, determining the yield response at the end of each season. Different physiological responses for the studied cultivars were observed, especially considering the Ψleaf measurements. In this way, cv. Marta behaved more tolerant, while cvs. Guara and Lauranne maintained higher gs rates in response to water stress. These differences were also observed in terms of yield. The cv. Lauranne did not reflect yield losses, and the opposite trend was observed for cv. Guara, in which reductions on fruit numbers per tree were detected. On overall, effective irrigation water savings (≈2100 m3·ha−1 in SDI65) could be feasible, although these responses are going to be substantially different, depending on the used cultivar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Plant Water Use Efficiency for a Sustainable Environment)
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Open AccessCommunication
Initial Experimental Experience with a Sprayable Biodegradable Polymer Membrane (SBPM) Technology in Cotton
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040584 - 19 Apr 2020
Abstract
Preformed biodegradable and next generation sprayable biodegradable polymer membrane (SBPM) formulations, which biodegrade to non-harmful products (water, carbon dioxide and microbial biomass), have been introduced as an alternative to plastic mulch films in order to mitigate plastic pollution of the environment. In this [...] Read more.
Preformed biodegradable and next generation sprayable biodegradable polymer membrane (SBPM) formulations, which biodegrade to non-harmful products (water, carbon dioxide and microbial biomass), have been introduced as an alternative to plastic mulch films in order to mitigate plastic pollution of the environment. In this preliminary field study on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), a novel SBPM technology was compared to preformed slotted oxo-degradable plastic (ODP) mulch film and no mulch control (CON) in terms of yield, crop water productivity (CWP), and soil temperature. The first results showed higher CWP and crop yield, and increased soil water content under the SBPM cover. This study indicates that SBPM technology could perform at similar level as ODP or comparable films under field conditions and, at the same time, provide environmentally sustainable agricultural cropping practices. Additionally, the fully treated, non-replicated SBPM plot had a wetter soil profile throughout the entire crop season. This innovative technology has shown a high potential even at this early stage of development, indicating that advances in formulation and further testing can lead to significant improvements and thus increased use in crop production systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Plant Water Use Efficiency for a Sustainable Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Adequate Substrate Water Content for Mass Production of a High Value-Added Medicinal Plant, Crepidiastrum denticulatum (Houtt.) Pak & Kawano
Agronomy 2020, 10(3), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030388 - 12 Mar 2020
Abstract
The effects of substrate water content on the growth and content of bioactive compounds in Crepidiastrum denticulatum were evaluated. Three-week-old seedlings were subjected to four levels of substrate water content (20%, 30%, 45% and 60%) and maintained for 5 weeks. Growth parameters at [...] Read more.
The effects of substrate water content on the growth and content of bioactive compounds in Crepidiastrum denticulatum were evaluated. Three-week-old seedlings were subjected to four levels of substrate water content (20%, 30%, 45% and 60%) and maintained for 5 weeks. Growth parameters at 5 weeks of transplanting were significantly higher with the 45% substrate water content treatment than with the other treatments. In addition, photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate increased significantly and the highest sap flow rate during the day was observed in 45% substrate water content. Total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity per shoot increased significantly with substrate water content, increasing from 20% to 45% and decreased again at 60%. Antioxidant capacity and total hydroxycinnamic acids (HCAs) content per unit dry weight of plants under the 60% treatment were significantly higher than those under the 45% treatment; however, their content per shoot was the highest under the 45% treatment. Thus, 45% substrate water content is a suitable condition for the growth of C. denticulatum and had positive effects on phenolic content, antioxidant capacity, and HCAs content. These results could be useful for the mass production of high-quality C. denticulatum in greenhouses or plant factories capable of controlling the water content of the root zone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Plant Water Use Efficiency for a Sustainable Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Growth Response of Cassava to Deficit Irrigation and Potassium Fertigation during the Early Growth Phase
Agronomy 2020, 10(3), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030321 - 26 Feb 2020
Abstract
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) experiences intermittent water deficit and suffers from potassium (K) deficiency that seriously constrains its yield in the tropics. Currently, the interaction effect between deficit irrigation and K fertigation on growth and yield of cassava is unknown, especially during [...] Read more.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) experiences intermittent water deficit and suffers from potassium (K) deficiency that seriously constrains its yield in the tropics. Currently, the interaction effect between deficit irrigation and K fertigation on growth and yield of cassava is unknown, especially during the early growth phase. Therefore, pot experiments were conducted under controlled greenhouse conditions using cassava cuttings. Treatments initiated at 30 days after planting included three irrigation doses (30%, 60%, 100% pot capacity) and five K (0.01, 1, 4, 16, and 32 mM) concentrations. The plants were harvested 90 days after planting. Decreasing irrigation dose to 30% together with 16 mM K lowered the leaf water potential by 69%, leaf osmotic potential by 41%, photosynthesis by 35%, stomatal conductance by 41%, water usage by 50%, leaf area by 17%, and whole-plant dry mass by 41%, compared with full-irrigated plants. Lowering the K concentration below 16 mM reduced the values further. Notably, growth and yield were decreased the least compared with optimal, when irrigation dose was decreased to 60% together with 16 mM K. The results demonstrate that deficit irrigation strategies could be utilized to develop management practices to improve cassava productivity by means of K fertigation under low moisture conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Plant Water Use Efficiency for a Sustainable Environment)
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Open AccessFeature PaperEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Absence of Yield Reduction after Controlled Water Stress during Prehaverst Period in Table OliveTrees
Agronomy 2020, 10(2), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10020258 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Deficit irrigation scheduling is becoming increasingly important under commercial conditions. Water status measurement is a useful tool in these conditions. However, the information about water stress levels for olive trees is scarce. The aim of this experiment was to evaluate the effect on [...] Read more.
Deficit irrigation scheduling is becoming increasingly important under commercial conditions. Water status measurement is a useful tool in these conditions. However, the information about water stress levels for olive trees is scarce. The aim of this experiment was to evaluate the effect on yield of a moderate controlled water stress level at the end of the irrigation season. The experiment was conducted in the experimental farm of La Hampa (Coria del Río, Seville, Spain) during three years. A completely randomized block design was performed using three different irrigation treatments. Deficit irrigation was applied several (4 or 2) weeks before harvest. Irrigation was controlled using the midday stem water potential, with a threshold value of −2 MPa and compared with a full irrigated treatment. This water stress did not reduced gas exchange during the deficit period. The effect on yield was not significant in any of the three seasons. In the high-fruit load season, fruit volume was slightly affected (around 10%), but this was not significant at harvest. Results suggest an early affection of fruit growth with water stress, but with a slow rate of decrease. Moderate water stress could be useful for the management of deficit irrigation in table olive trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Plant Water Use Efficiency for a Sustainable Environment)
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