Irrigation scheduling based on the daily historical crop evapotranspiration (ETh) data was theoretically and experimentally assessed for the major soil-grown greenhouse horticultural crops on the Almería coast in order to improve irrigation efficiency. Overall, the simulated seasonal ETh values for different crop cycles from 41 greenhouses were not significantly different from the corresponding values of real-time crop evapotranspiration (ETc). Additionally, for the main greenhouse crops on the Almería coast, the simulated values of the maximum cumulative soil water deficit in each of the 15 consecutive growth cycles (1988–2002) were determined using simple soil-water balances comparing daily ETh and ETc values to schedule irrigation. In most cases, no soil-water deficits affecting greenhouse crop productivity were detected, but the few cases found led us to also assess experimentally the use of ETh for irrigation scheduling of greenhouse horticultural crops. The response of five greenhouse crops to water applications scheduled with daily estimates of ETh and ETc was evaluated in a typical enarenado soil. In tomato, fruit yield did not differ statistically between irrigation treatments, but the spring green bean irrigated using the ETh data presented lower yield than that irrigated using the ETc data. In the remaining experiments, the irrigation-management method based on ETh data was modified to consider the standard deviation of the inter-annual greenhouse reference ET. No differences between irrigation treatments were found for productivity of pepper, zucchini and melon crops.
Irrigation Science – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 5, 2006
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