Location: Forage and Livestock Production ResearchTitle: Modeling irrigation and nitrogen management of wheat in northern Ethiopia
|ARAYA, ALEMIE - Kansas State University|
|VARA PRASAD, P. - Kansas State University|
|AFEWERK, A - Mekelle University|
|ABADI, BERHANE - Non ARS Employee|
|FOSTER, ANSERD - Kansas State University|
Submitted to: Agricultural Water Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/19/2019
Publication Date: 2/17/2019
Citation: Araya, A., Vara Prasad, P.V., Gowda, P.H., Afewerk, A., Abadi, B., Foster, A. 2019. Modeling irrigation and nitrogen management of wheat in northern Ethiopia. Agricultural Water Management. 216:264-272. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2019.01.014.
Interpretive Summary: Ethiopia is one of the major wheat producers in Africa and its production highly dependent on amount and distribution of rainfall during the growing season. Deficit irrigation in conjunction with improved nutrient management can enhance crop and water productivity in northern Ethiopia. However, the response of wheat to combined use of N and P fertilizers and deficit irrigation is not well understood. This simulation study evaluated the effects of irrigation and nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer application rates on yield, biomass and irrigation water productivity of wheat. Simulation results showed that both irrigation and nitrogen applications positively affected wheat yield, biomass and irrigation water productivity. Much of the increase in biomass and yield was due to increased nitrogen application rate than to increased irrigation. Yield increased with increase in nitrogen application rates, however, at a diminishing rate. Simulation results also showed that higher nitrogen fertilizer rates up to 160 kg/ha could improve yield (~3.8 t/ha) significantly with good supply of irrigation (i.e. four irrigations with total of 100 mm) during the most sensitive stages of the crop development. However, a detailed economic analyses is needed to identify best options that can provide most efficient management practices for improving wheat yields in northern Ethiopia.
Technical Abstract: Wheat (Triticum aestivum) is one of the most important staple food crops in Ethiopia. However, its production is limited by moisture and nutrient stresses. A field experiment was conducted in northern Ethiopia to: (i) evaluate the effects of irrigation and nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizer application rates on yield, biomass and irrigation water productivity (IWP) of wheat; (ii) calibrate and validate a crop model for simulating yield and biomass of wheat under different levels of nitrogen and irrigation applications; (iii) evaluate consecutive above-ground biomass accumulation as affected by different combinations of irrigation and N fertilizer rates. The decision support for agro technology transfer cropping system model (DSSAT-CSM) was calibrated and validated with experimental data. The calibrated and validated DSSAT-CSM was used to simulate wheat biomass, yield, and irrigation water productivity under rainfed and three irrigation scenarios: I0, rainfed; DI1, two irrigations from heading to flowering; DI2, four irrigations from heading to early grain filling; and DI3, six irrigation from heading to mid grain filling period in combination with nine N rates (0, 16, 32, 64, 80, 96, 112, 128 and 160 kg/ha). Simulation results showed that both irrigation and nitrogen applications positively affected wheat yield, biomass and IWP. Much of the increase in biomass and yield was due to increased N than to increased irrigation. Yield increased with increase in N application rates, however, at a diminishing rate yielding a curvilinear relationship. Four irrigation (DI2) starting from heading to early grain filling stage resulted in a yield similar to DI3, six irrigation applications from heading to mid grain filling stage. Simulations showed that two irrigation applications strategy (DI1) yielded relatively higher IWP (1.8 kg/m3) at the highest application rate of 160 kg N/ha. Further economic analysis would help to identify most efficient practices for wheat production in northern Ethiopia.