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A three-year experiment (2015–2017) was conducted under the semiarid conditions of the Hydrogeological Unit Eastern Mancha (HUEM) (Spain), using the optimized regulated deficit irrigation for a limited amount of irrigation water (ORDIL) methodology on barley. Five irrigation treatments were performed during the experiment: no deficit (ND), 100% (T100), 90% (T90), 80% (T80), and 70% (T70) of barley net typical irrigation requirements (2500 m3 ha-1) in the area. The aim was to determine the effect of ORDIL: 1) on the quality of grain and malt; 2) on the profitability and use of water at farm scale; and 3) on the profitability and sustainability of the HUEM. Despite using less water, ORDIL treatments showed no significant differences in grain quality with respect to ND, while T80 achieved the highest economic water productivity (average 0.17 € m-3). Thus, by using T80 instead of ND and increasing the irrigated area of barley on the farm by 14%, it is possible to save up to 31% of water with the same profitability. This amount of water could be used for more profitable crops, increasing the profitability of the farm. The use of ORDIL at basin scale, using T80 instead of ND and increasing the cultivated area by 9%, could have saved up to 55.9 hm3 over the 3 experimental years (16% of annual extractions in the HUEM). Supplying this water to more profitable crops, the profitability of the basin could have increased by up to 44.4 M€. In the case of saving this amount of groundwater, piezometric levels would have risen, decreasing the pumping costs and improving the environmental conditions in the area. Consequently, applying ORDIL in lowprofit crops, such as barley, and in water scarce areas, could improve the profitability and/or the sustainability of agricultural systems, maintaining the production.

Keywords: Hordeum vulgare L. MOPECO model ORDIL Malting process Semiarid

Created 2022-03-15
Changed 2022-03-15
Size 675.47 KB
Downloads 40


Scarcity of water resources is one of the main constraints on agricultural activity in arid and semi-arid areas. Despite the great technological development over recent decades, farmers are demanding methodologies and tools adapted to their training, management restrictions, and economic capacity. To tackle these challenges, the sustainable production in water-limited environments of Mediterranean agroecosystems (SUPROMED) project combines, in an online platform, a set of models and methodologies for more efficient management of water, energy, and fertilizers. A two-year trial (2020–2021) was conducted in the Castilla-La Mancha region (Spain) to demonstrate, for a barley crop, the effectiveness of SUPROMED as a farm management support tool. The impact of transferring the model for the economic optimization of irrigation water use at farm level (MOPECO model) irrigation scheduling among other methods and tools, integrated in the SUPROMED platform, to farmers was determined by analyzing a set of productive, economic, and environmental key performance indicators (KPIs). The KPIs were selected to show farmers how the efficient use of productive factors could improve the profitability of their farms, thus reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment. In 2020, the management plan proposed by SUPROMED achieved the same yield as traditional management using 32% less water and resulting in a 13% and 66% improvement in gross margin and gross economic irrigation water productivity, respectively. In 2021, the management implemented by a farmer trained in the use of the tools and methodologies in the SUPROMED platform showed improvements in most of the KPIs analyzed, achieving similar results to those obtained by SUPROMED during 2020. The results are promising, indicating that the tools and models proposed in SUPROMED can be easily used by farmers and can improve the economic and environmental sustainability of Mediterranean agroecosystems. The involvement of public administrations, together with local researchers and technicians, is required for the effective promotion and use of these methodologies by the productive sector.
Created 2022-06-09
Changed 2022-06-09
Size 2.11 MB
Downloads 16

Disclaimer SuproMed

SUPROMED fait partie du programme PRIMA soutenu par l'Union Européenne.