Special Issue "Renewable Energy Powered Irrigation Systems: Addressing the Challenge to Improve Performances, Sustainability and Economy of Agricultural Productions"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Giuseppe Todde
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Science, University of Sassari, Viale Italia 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: energy and environmental impact of dairy farms; environmental sustainability of agricultural systems: energy and environmental performance of photovoltaic irrigation systems; precision livestock farming; wearable technologies; mechanization of livestock farms; smart glasses for augmented reality; logistics of milk collection; life cycle assessment; direct and indirect energy analysis of livestock farms
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Maria Caria
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Science, University of Sassari, Viale Italia 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: precision livestock farming; animal welfare; milking management; milking systems; wearable technologies; mechanization of livestock farms; ergonomic and safety issues; energy and environmental sustainability of dairy farms; smart glasses for augmented reality; logistics of milk collection
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, the cultivation of agricultural products has been improved through more competitive management practices. Recent studies have shown that irrigation practices result in a remarkable increase in product quality and yield. In fact, traditional crop productions are being converted to intensive cultivation systems. Although this conversion is improving product quality and quantity and sector profitability, it requires a larger amount of energy input, which generates corresponding environmental impacts. Moreover, the agricultural phase uses the main quota of the total energy demand for the production of food, with irrigation as one of the main energy-demand activities.

The environmental impact of crop irrigation has been studied by several authors who found that achievement of sustainable food production included improvements in irrigation water use and pumping efficiency, where the energy inputs for irrigation were the major contributors to CO2 emissions.

The need to promote more sustainable agricultural production with respect to natural resources and human health is leading farmers and stakeholders to invest in renewable energy systems. Recently, several renewable energy technologies have been implemented in pressurized irrigation systems to reduce energy requirements while also reducing the related greenhouse gas emissions.

The aim of this Special Issue of Sustainability is to provide innovative experimental research, models, and tools focusing on renewable powered irrigation technologies, including the related economic and environmental impacts. This Special Issue may include but is not limited to:

  • Energy and environmental advantages of renewable powered irrigation systems;
  • Precision irrigation technologies;
  • Performances evaluation of renewable powered irrigation systems;
  • Mathematical modeling of on-farm irrigation energy requirements;
  • Solar-powered water pumping;
  • Economic assessments associated to renewable powered irrigation systems.

Dr. Giuseppe Todde
Prof. Maria Caria
Guest Editors

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 1900 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

  • irrigation management
  • water efficiency
  • technology performances
  • renewable energy

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Field and Modeling Study on Manual and Automatic Irrigation Scheduling under Deficit Irrigation of Greenhouse Cucumber
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9819; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239819 - 24 Nov 2020
Viewed by 529
Abstract
The primary goal of all those working in the field of sustainable water management, particularly in the arid and semi-arid zones, is to increase irrigation efficiency, reduce irrigation water losses, and improve water productivity for all crops. This study assessed the automatic irrigation [...] Read more.
The primary goal of all those working in the field of sustainable water management, particularly in the arid and semi-arid zones, is to increase irrigation efficiency, reduce irrigation water losses, and improve water productivity for all crops. This study assessed the automatic irrigation scheduling and irrigation management on the growth, yield, and water productivity of cucumber under greenhouse conditions. A field experiment was conducted using cucumber grown in aplastic greenhouse during the winter of 2017/18 and 2018/19 at the research farm station of the National Research Centre (NRC), El-Noubaria Region, Behaira Governorate, Egypt. In a split-plot experiment, two different methods to control irrigation scheduling (manual control (MC) and automatic control (AC)) were used in the main plots and three deficit irrigation treatments (100% of full irrigation (FI), 80% of FI, and 60% of FI). Through the obtained results, it was found that the use of the automatic control of the irrigation schedule led to an improvement in the productivity and quality characteristics of the cucumber crop. Automatic irrigation control created healthy conditions for the plant roots located under the least water stress. This led to an increase in nitrogen uptake at the ages of 3, 5, 7, and 9 weeks after planting in addition to improving the total leaf area and the chlorophyll content of leaves, which consequently had a greater effect on increasing yield and water productivity of cucumber. Although the highest values of cucumber productivity were obtained with irrigation at 100% of FI, there were no significant differences between 100% FI and 80% of FI, therefore it is preferable to irrigate at 80% of FI, and this means saving 20% of irrigation water that can be used to irrigate other areas. The SALTMED model simulating all of the following evaluation criteria performed well for soil moisture content and N-uptake as well as the leaves area, the yield, and water productivity of cucumber for all treatments for the two growing seasons 2017/18 and 2018/19, with the overall R2 of 0.882, 0.903, 0.975, 0.907, and 0.933, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Using Small-Scale Irrigation Motor Pumps on Farmers’ Household Incomes in Ethiopia: A Quasi-Experimental Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8142; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198142 - 02 Oct 2020
Viewed by 542
Abstract
Sectoral economic growth data in Ethiopia show that the agriculture sector has the lowest growth, which is caused by frequent drought and inefficient technologies, among other factors. As a result, the productivities of land and labor, as well as the income of small-scale [...] Read more.
Sectoral economic growth data in Ethiopia show that the agriculture sector has the lowest growth, which is caused by frequent drought and inefficient technologies, among other factors. As a result, the productivities of land and labor, as well as the income of small-scale farm households, are very low, and rural areas have a relatively high poverty rate. A quasi-experiment was applied to understand the impact of using small-scale irrigation motor pumps on farmers’ livelihood improvement. Specifically, a survey was conducted in 2019 on a sample of 92 small-scale irrigation motor pump and canal irrigation users as the treatment and control groups. The weighted propensity score matching method was applied to eliminate initial differences and adjust sampling proportions across the groups. Based on the average treatment effect on the treated estimation results, we cannot state that the mean income difference in small-scale irrigation motor pump users and canal irrigation system users is different from zero. This indicates that countries with little capital to invest in large-scale irrigation projects can introduce household-level small-scale irrigation motor pumps to improve farmers’ incomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Agriculture Development in the Western Desert of Egypt: A Case Study on Crop Production, Profit, and Uncertainty in the Siwa Region
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6568; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166568 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 584
Abstract
The Egyptian government initiated a development project in 2015 to reclaim 1.5 million acres with the primary goal of increasing agricultural production. Siwa is one of these areas in the Western Desert of Egypt, with 30,000 acres using groundwater from the Nubian Sandstone [...] Read more.
The Egyptian government initiated a development project in 2015 to reclaim 1.5 million acres with the primary goal of increasing agricultural production. Siwa is one of these areas in the Western Desert of Egypt, with 30,000 acres using groundwater from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS). This study investigates if government goals are achievable in the next 20 years to secure the food and water needs of the Siwa region. Results show that total required crop areas are 7154 and 6629 acres in winter and summer, respectively. These areas are less than 17,010 acres of available area for cultivation (Av). The estimated total water use is 40.6 million cubic meters (MCM), which is less than the 88 MCM that is considered available groundwater in the Nubian Aquifer System (NAS). Due to available capacity in Siwa, an optimization model is used to maximize crop production considering government policies. The Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) model was applied to predict production costs and sell prices of cultivated crops. Analysis included different scenarios beyond government-recommended approaches to identify ways to further expand agriculture production under sustainable conditions. Results provide valuable insights to the ability to achieve government goals from the project and changes that may be required to enhance production. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Does the Control of Grain Purchase Price Affect the Sustainability of the National Grain Industry? One Empirical Study from China
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 2102; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12052102 - 09 Mar 2020
Viewed by 613
Abstract
As one of the most important grain protection policies in China, the minimum purchase price policy prevents the fluctuation of grain output and protects the interests of farmers by regulating the prices of major grain varieties. For developing countries with a shortage of [...] Read more.
As one of the most important grain protection policies in China, the minimum purchase price policy prevents the fluctuation of grain output and protects the interests of farmers by regulating the prices of major grain varieties. For developing countries with a shortage of agricultural resources, represented by China, an in-depth study on the implementation effect and public satisfaction of this policy is of great significance for promoting the sustainable development of the grain industry. Based on the interest demands of the government, farmers, grain enterprises and consumers, this paper constructs a policy satisfaction evaluation model based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process and Fuzzy Comprehensive Evaluation. The research shows that the implementation effect of this policy has promoted the sustainable development of China’s grain in four aspects: improving farmers’ enthusiasm for planting, optimizing the structure of supply and demand, reducing the adverse impact of disasters, and ensuring the steady increase of output. However, due to the differences in natural resources and folk customs, the implementation effect of this policy varies in different regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Intensification? Increased Production Diminishes Omega-3 Content of Sheep Milk
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1228; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031228 - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 819
Abstract
Intensifying agricultural production alters food composition, but this is often ignored when assessing system sustainability. However, this could compromise consumer health and influence the concept of “sustainable diets”. Here, we consider the milk composition of Mediterranean dairy sheep, finding inferior fatty acid (FA) [...] Read more.
Intensifying agricultural production alters food composition, but this is often ignored when assessing system sustainability. However, this could compromise consumer health and influence the concept of “sustainable diets”. Here, we consider the milk composition of Mediterranean dairy sheep, finding inferior fatty acid (FA) profiles with respect to consumer health as a result of a more intensive system of production. Semi-intensive management produced 57% more milk per ewe, with a 20% lower fat content (but inferior fat composition). The milk had a nutritionally poorer fatty acid (FA) profile, with an 18% lower omega-3 FA concentration (n-3) (19% fewer long-chain n-3s) and a 7% lower monounsaturated FA concentration but a 3% higher saturated FA (9% higher in C14:0) concentration compared to ewes under traditional, extensive management. A redundancy analysis identified close associations between fat composition and animal diets—particularly concentrate supplementation and cultivated pasture grazing—and n-3 was associated with grazing in diverse, native mountain pastures. This paper questions if identifying such key elements in traditional systems could be deployed for “sustainable intensification” to maintain food quality while increasing output. Full article
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