Agronomic Practices in Water-Saving Agriculture to Improve Crop Water Use Efficiency

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 February 2023) | Viewed by 9185

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College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, Taicheng 3, Yangling 712100, China
Interests: soil tillage; fertilizer management; crop production; meta-analysis
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Factors such as continuous population growth, climate change and global water shortages have led to agricultural production facing a severe "water crisis". Identifying ways in which to produce more food with every drop of water is critical for sustainable agriculture and maintaining food security. In short, there is an urgent need to improve the water use efficiency of crops, and developing effective field management practices is the key to achieving this. This Special Issue will compile new knowledge pertaining to agricultural management practices to improve the water use efficiency of crops in agricultural production, particularly in dryland farming systems. The main contents include, but are not limited to, the following aspects: the exploration of water harvesting and water saving management practices; the response of crop water use to management practices; and the physiological and ecological mechanisms for improving crop water use efficiency.

Dr. Juan Han
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • water use efficiency
  • agricultural management practices
  • productivity improvement

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 294 KiB  
Article
Grafting and Soil with Drought Stress Can Increase the Antioxidant Status in Cucumber
by Marcelino Cabrera De la Fuente, Jesus Tomas Felix Leyva, Rafael Delgado Martinez, Julia Medrano Macías and Rocio Maricela Peralta Manjarrez
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13040994 - 28 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1021
Abstract
The availability of water and nutrients are determining factors for the growth and productivity of the cucumber crop. The implementation of the grafting techniques increases the efficiency in the absorption of resources such as water and nutrients, improving the quality, mineral content, and [...] Read more.
The availability of water and nutrients are determining factors for the growth and productivity of the cucumber crop. The implementation of the grafting techniques increases the efficiency in the absorption of resources such as water and nutrients, improving the quality, mineral content, and enzymatic activity of the fruit. The objective of this research work was to evaluate the effect of the anchor point (soil and substrate), graft (with and without graft), and irrigation volume (100 and 75%) on fruit quality, macro and microelement content, and enzymatic antioxidant activity. A total of eight treatments was established in a completely randomized experiment with a factorial design with a 2 × 2 × 2 arrangement. The results showed an increase in the fruit weight by 10% in grafted plants under 100% irrigation in the substrate, no significant differences between treatments were found in firmness or total soluble solids (TSS). Additionally, while there was a higher accumulation of potassium because of the graft, there was no difference for calcium. It was observed that the enzymatic activity was inhibited using the graft. The graft represents a viable option for the efficient use of water, both in the soil and substrate, being the substrate with the best environment for development, mitigating stress by decreasing enzymatic activity. Full article
20 pages, 3032 KiB  
Article
Regulated Deficit Irrigation during Vegetative Growth Enhances Crop Water Productivity in Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.)
by José Denis Osuna-Amador, Rodrigo Méndez-Alonzo, Armando Trasviña-Castro, Romeo Saldívar-Lucio, Rufina Hernandez-Martinez and Georgianne W. Moore
Agronomy 2023, 13(3), 917; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13030917 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1327
Abstract
To optimize irrigation, agronomists need to modulate crop water productivity (CWP) throughout phenology. We compared regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) and sustained deficit irrigation (SDI) in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L. var. Blanoro), expecting RDI during vegetative growth (VG) to enhance CWP, as opposed [...] Read more.
To optimize irrigation, agronomists need to modulate crop water productivity (CWP) throughout phenology. We compared regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) and sustained deficit irrigation (SDI) in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L. var. Blanoro), expecting RDI during vegetative growth (VG) to enhance CWP, as opposed to flowering (F) and pod-filling (PF) stages. The effects of RDI and SDI on grain yield, plant height, weight, grain caliber, pods and grains per plant, harvest index, and CWP, were tested through a complete randomized block experiment during the years 2020 and 2021, comparing full irrigation (FI, ETc = 100%), SDI (SDI75, ETc = 75% during all stages), and six RDI treatments varying in ETc% across phenology: VG50, VG75, F50, F75, PF50, and PF75. VG75 had higher CWP while minimizing impacts on productivity. During 2020, the plants were taller (0.44 ± 4.4 m), and increased in harvest index (0.47 ± 0.06), and CWP (0.90 ± 0.2 kg m−3) (p < 0.05), while in 2021, plants were heavier (11.4 ± 2.8 g) and increased in caliber (46.1 ± 3.0 grains); grain yield did not differ between the years (p ˃ 0.05), reaching 861.8 (2020) and 944.7 kg ha−1 (2021). Our results highlight the relevance of maintaining 100% ETc during flowering, and the maintenance of RDI at 75% ETc during vegetative growth. Full article
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15 pages, 2477 KiB  
Article
Plant Architecture Influences the Population Transpiration and Canopy Temperature in Winter Wheat Genotypes
by Guirong Huang, Xinying Zhang, Zhenzhao Wang, Yuzhong Li, Xiaoying Liu, Rui Guo, Fengxue Gu, Enke Liu, Shuying Li, Xiuli Zhong and Xurong Mei
Agronomy 2023, 13(3), 742; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13030742 - 02 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1267
Abstract
To study how plant architecture affects the canopy traits and water use of wheat, the Triticum aestivum L. population is expected to provide important information for cultivar improvement and the ideal population structure establishment for conserving water without causing an enormous grain yield [...] Read more.
To study how plant architecture affects the canopy traits and water use of wheat, the Triticum aestivum L. population is expected to provide important information for cultivar improvement and the ideal population structure establishment for conserving water without causing an enormous grain yield loss. This study was conducted for three consecutive growing seasons using two genotypes with contrasting plant architectures as the materials, the upright-leafed compact type Jing 411 and the flat-leafed loose type Jinmai 47. The population-scale transpiration (PT) and soil evaporation (E) were partitioned from the evapotranspiration (ET) using micro-lysimeters, and the canopy traits population density and the canopy temperature depression (CTD) were also monitored during the period from the jointing to early grain filling stage—the largest water requirement period of wheat crops. Jinmai 47 showed a lower E than Jing 411, but a similar PT and ET, though it had a higher population density at the sowing density. The total evapotranspiration (TET) for the whole growing season was also similar in the two genotypes. This indicated that Jinmai 47 performed better in water conservation than Jing 411. With a similar PT and TET, however, Jinmai 47 showed a rather larger CTD and a significantly higher grain yield than Jing 411. If the higher population density and higher leaf net photosynthetic rate could explain its higher grain yield, the higher leaf stomotal conductance and transpiration rate and the higher population density could not explain the similar PT, ET and TET to Jing 411. Presumably, the involvement of the plant architecture disrupted the original higher transpiration–larger CTD relation, and broke up the prevailing saving water-losing yield concept. Thus, the study might suggest the important water saving value of the flat-leafed loose architecture in wheat crops and demonstrate the possibility of conserving irrigation water without causing serious grain yield loss by taking advantage of the distinct plant architecture to establish an appropriate population structure. Full article
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16 pages, 2241 KiB  
Article
Drip Irrigation and Compost Applications Improved the Growth, Productivity, and Water Use Efficiency of Some Varieties of Bread Wheat
by Khalid S. Alshallash, Khaled M. Makled, Khldoon F. Saeed, Abdesalam A. Shehab, Al Sayed M. Farouk and Ashraf E. Hamdy
Agronomy 2023, 13(1), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010139 - 31 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1481
Abstract
In hyper-arid and arid zones, management of crop water requirements is considered a vital component for sustaining crop production. The efficiency of the irrigation method and the application of many kinds of organic matter are practices that should be followed in Egypt to [...] Read more.
In hyper-arid and arid zones, management of crop water requirements is considered a vital component for sustaining crop production. The efficiency of the irrigation method and the application of many kinds of organic matter are practices that should be followed in Egypt to maximize the use of irrigation water. Two field experiments were conducted during the two successive winter seasons of 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 to study the effect of drip irrigation systems and of several types of compost on yield and yield attributes of four cultivars of wheat in newly reclaimed sandy soils. Studied factors were irrigation levels based on the amount of water evapotranspiration (ET) (I1, I2, I3) and the application of compost types (Com1, Com2 and Com3) on four bread wheat cultivars. The parameters measured at each irrigation level were: heading date (day), plant height (cm2), number of spikes/m2, number of grains/spike, 1000-grain weight (g), grain yield (t/fed.), Biological yield (kg/fed.) and harvest index (%). The farmyard manure (Com3) gave the maximum values under irrigation shortages, reflected in producing the maximum values for traits measured in the 2020/2021 season as compared to (Com1) or (Com2) applications, which scored lower values for the traits for the different cultivars for wheat. The interaction (I1, I2) × Com3 × (Mis1, Mis2) led to a significant increase during both seasons for all the yield and yield components studied. A drip irrigation system at the level of 80% of ET and application of Com3 is recommended to optimize wheat productivity from the unit area. The savings in water irrigation would allow expansion of the cultivated area to decrease the gap between local crop production and local requirements. Full article
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11 pages, 2930 KiB  
Article
The Dynamics of Soil Moisture and Temperature—Strip-Till vs. Plowing—A Case Study
by Lech Gałęzewski, Iwona Jaskulska, Karol Kotwica and Łukasz Lewandowski
Agronomy 2023, 13(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010083 - 27 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1814
Abstract
The dynamics of soil moisture and its temperature is an important criterion for evaluating soil tillage technology in terms of achieving plant production stability. Understanding changes in soil moisture and temperature depending on rainfall and air temperature is necessary to develop application models [...] Read more.
The dynamics of soil moisture and its temperature is an important criterion for evaluating soil tillage technology in terms of achieving plant production stability. Understanding changes in soil moisture and temperature depending on rainfall and air temperature is necessary to develop application models for agriculture 4.0. A hypothesis was adopted assuming that the dynamics of soil moisture and its thermal properties will depend on the technology of cultivation. Hence, the aim of the research was to learn the dynamics of soil moisture and temperature during a growing season using strip and conventional tillage. Soil moisture was monitored using TDR probes in the row and inter-row of winter barley using plowing and strip-till techniques. Soil temperature was also monitored. Measurements were made every 5 min. In the most important period for the growth and development of barley vegetation, the soil in the strip-till was characterized by greater moisture (3.6% v/v on average) and greater stability than was the case with plowing. The soil in the strip-till was cooler (an average of 0.64 °C), but more stable than in plowing—temporary temperature differences in ST vs. PT reached even more than 5 °C. Strip-till therefore mitigates weather extremes to a greater extent than plowing. Full article
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16 pages, 2701 KiB  
Article
Non-Thermal Plasma as an Alternative to Enhance the Early Growth Structures in Lentil Plants
by Diana Guadalupe Gutiérrez-León, Tomás Serrano-Ramírez, Régulo López-Callejas and Benjamín Gonzalo Rodríguez-Méndez
Agronomy 2022, 12(12), 2920; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12122920 - 23 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1748
Abstract
The scarcity and contamination of water, aggravated by the effects of Climate Change, endanger the food supply, cause health problems to humans, and are a critical concern. New research has been carried out to improve the quality of water used in the agricultural [...] Read more.
The scarcity and contamination of water, aggravated by the effects of Climate Change, endanger the food supply, cause health problems to humans, and are a critical concern. New research has been carried out to improve the quality of water used in the agricultural sector. One of them is the technology of non-thermal plasma (NTP) generated by corona discharges using air as a working gas. In this study, the NTP is applied directly and causing the activation to three water sources: potable, wastewater from poultry farming, and rain, on the legume “lentil.” The results show that the NTP applied to the different water conditions modifies the legume structure, obtaining a better germination and growth rate. In particular, it found that the best condition to stimulate the plant structure growth is using wastewater from poultry activities, which NTP activates. Likewise, it identified the internalization of pathogenic microorganisms such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium since the early development of the plant. The bacteria reduction after NTP application is detected due to the effect of the reactive species generated by the NTP. The NTP application for water activation can represent an alternative to solve the demand for food since the development of the structures of legumes, particularly of lentils, is promoted. Full article
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