Article

Financial feasibility of implementing regulated and sustained deficit irrigation in almond orchards

Journal ar
Irrigation Science
  • Volumen: 31
  • Número: 5
  • Fecha: 01 September 2013
  • Páginas: 931-941
  • ISSN: 03427188 14321319
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00271-012-0369-6
  • Document Type: Article
This study aims to assess the long-term economic viability of deficit irrigation (DI) strategies in almond trees (cv. Marta) grown in a semiarid area (southeast Spain). A discounted cash flow analysis (DCFA) was performed to determine the profitability of the different irrigation regimes. Four irrigation treatments were evaluated over the first 6 years of an almond plantation: (1) full irrigation (FI); (2) regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) receiving 40 % ETc during kernel-filling and 100 % ETc during the remainder of the growing season; (3) mild-to-moderate sustained deficit irrigation (SDImm), irrigated at 75 % ETc (first half of the experiment) and 60 % ETc (second half of the experiment) over the entire growing season; and (4) moderate-to-severe SDI (SDIms), irrigated at 60 % ETc (first half of the experiment) and 30 % ETc (second half of the experiment) over the whole growing season. Irrigation water profit was mainly determined by the annual volume of irrigation water applied (water costs are around 50 % of variable costs). DCFA indicates that RDI and SDImm are the most economically feasible treatments, whereas FI and SDIms presented a similar degree of profitability over the 6-year period. Simulation outputs derived for the whole useful life of the investment indicate that SDImm would be the most suitable irrigation treatment to be adopted by almond farmers in the study area. We conclude that in a context of water scarcity, DI is a financially feasible alternative to FI. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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