Almond agronomic response to long-term deficit irrigation applied since orchard establishment

Journal ar
Irrigation Science
  • Volumen: 31
  • Número: 3
  • Fecha: 01 January 2013
  • Páginas: 445-454
  • ISSN: 03427188 14321319
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00271-012-0322-8
  • Document Type: Article
This study assesses the long-term suitability of regulated (RDI) and sustained deficit irrigation (SDI) implemented over the first six growing seasons of an almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D. A. Webb] orchard grown in a semiarid area in SE Spain. Four irrigation treatments were assessed: (i) full irrigation (FI), irrigated to satisfy maximum crop evapotranspiration (100% ETc); (ii) RDI, as FI but receiving 40% ETc during kernel-filling; (iii) mild-to-moderate SDI (SDImm), irrigated at 75-60% ETc over the entire growing season; and (iv) moderate-to-severe SDI (SDIms), irrigated at 60-30% ETc over the whole season. Application of water stress from orchard establishment did not amplify the negative effects of deficit irrigation on almond yield. Irrigation water productivity (IWP) increased proportionally to the mean relative water shortage. SDIms increased IWP by 92.5%, reduced yield by 29% and applied 63% less irrigation water. RDI and SDImm showed similar productive performances, but RDI was more efficient than SDImm to increase fruiting density and production efficiency (PE). We conclude that SDIms appears to be a promising DI option for arid regions with severe water scarcity, whereas for less water-scarce areas RDI and SDImm behaved similarly, except for the ability of RDI to more severely restrict vegetative development while increasing PE. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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