In this project we studied optimal use and adoption of sophisticated irrigation technologies. The stated objectives in the original proposal were to develop a conceptual framework for analyzing intra-season timing of water application rates with implications for crop and irrigation technology selection. We proposed to base the analysis on an intra-seasonal, dynamic, agro-economic model of plants' water demand, paying special attention to contamination of groundwater and soil in intensively cultivated areas that increasingly rely on water of lesser quality. The framework developed in the project integrates (i) a bio-physical model of water flow in the vadose zone and water uptake by plants and yield response with (ii) a dynamic management model to determine the optimal intra-season irrigation policy. It consists of a dynamic optimization model to determine irrigation rates at each point of time during the growing season and aggregation relating harvested yield with accumulated water input. The detailed dynamic approach provides a description of yield production processes at the plant’s level, and serves to determine intra-season irrigation decisions. Data derived from extensive field experiments were used to calibrate the model's parameters. We use the framework to establish the substitution between irrigation technology (capital) and water inputs; this is an important property of irrigation water productivity that has been overlooked in the literature. Another important feature investigated is the possibility to substitute fresh and saline water with a minimal productivity loss. The effects of soil properties and crop characteristics on optimal technology adoption have also been studied. We find that sandy soil, with low water holding capacity, is more conducive to adoption of sophisticated drip irrigation, as compared to heavier soils in which drainage losses are significantly smaller.
|Name||United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund Research Project|