Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Simulated crop provides answer to irrigation issues

16.07.2007
In the Indian Punjab, free water for crops comes at a cost of water quality

South Asia has witnessed a rapid growth in rice and wheat production that has defined the Green Revolution there. During the past 30 years, the Indian Punjab has transformed its agriculture through new technology that provides for high-producing plants, increased fertilization, and irrigation. Rice and wheat production has more than doubled with an increase in farmed areas, totaling about 6.4 million acres of rice and 8.4 million acres of wheat.

While the Indian Punjab’s agricultural performance continues to be impressive, evidence suggests that it’s coming at a price: their groundwater use is becoming increasingly dangerous to the environment. In some areas, the water quality is worsening as water tables decline. In other areas, water is flooding the soil making it difficult for plant growth. The rampant use of irrigation is encouraged by cheap water policies that provide producers with little or no expense for water use.

Since irrigation water charges are extremely cheap, farmers seem to use it more excessively and inefficiently. They are able to raise crop yields but at the cost of extremely low water quality. It is used this way due to crop decisions farmers must make for their crops before knowing the weather conditions for the upcoming season. Irrigation provides a way around these weather misjudgments. Farmers can adjust the amount of water coming to their crops by irrigation to supplement the precipitation levels.

In response to this dilemma, scientists at Oklahoma State University, the Punjab Agricultural University, and Texas A&M have investigated the use of alternative cropping systems to reduce irrigation water use and improve environmental conditions in a study funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). A simulation model was used (CropMan) to assess the biological structures, processes and economic practicality of an alternative range of cropping systems. Crops that were studied included maize, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and mustard. Results from this research were published in the July-August 2007 issue of Agronomy Journal.

The scientists gathered agronomic, geographic, and climatic data of the Punjab region. The data was entered into the simulation model and was adjusted for known farming conditions. Irrigation water response functions were estimated for each of the cropping systems, which showed how crop yields responded to alternative types of irrigation water strategies. Simulations assessed how irrigation water pricing affects the choice of cropping patterns among producers in the Indian Punjab.

The study found that two of the alternative crops, cotton and soybean, would enter cropping patterns provided that irrigation water prices moved to about 25% of the price charged by municipal water authorities in large cities such as New Delhi. Shifting cropping patterns toward more water-efficient enterprises would decrease irrigation water use on a typical rice field by nearly 66%. Charging producers for their irrigation water use was found to have only a modest effect on farm income. According to the research, once farmers have to pay for the water that irrigates their crops, they will use much less, but much more efficiently. This will subdue much of the potential environmental damage and reverse downward trends.

Research is ongoing at Punjab Agricultural University to field test alternative cropping systems across a range of irrigation management strategies. Additional field testing is planned to determine how the alternative crops would perform under actual farming conditions. Further research is needed to assess the environmental benefits that would accompany the increased water efficient cropping patterns found in this study, as well as to determine the most socially accepted water pricing for Punjabi farmers.

Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.crops.org
http://agron.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/4/1073
http://www.soils.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Interactive software tool makes complex mold design simple

16.08.2018 | Information Technology

Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor

16.08.2018 | Health and Medicine

Fraunhofer HHI develops next-generation quantum communications technology in the UNIQORN project

16.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>