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Anconelli S.,Consorzio Bonifica | Bucchi E.,Consorzio Bonifica | Solimando D.,Consorzio Bonifica | Guidoboni G.,Consorzio Bonifica | And 3 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Aims of the study were verifying productive responses in industrial cultivars of cherry tomato and set IRRINET water balance model calculation parameters for small berry tomatoes (crop coefficients, root zone development, duration of phenological phases). Trials have been performed in 2012 in two experimental sites in the Po plains on a loamy soil with a tendency to form crust, and on a silty-loamy soil with a tendency to cracking. Four small berry cultivars have been compared: 'Mascalzone' (mini San Marzano), 'Kikko' (cherry tomato), 'Quorum' and 'Cesarino' (mini-plum). Irrigation regimes were initially as follows: 70, 35 and 0% replenishment of estimated crop evapotranspiration (ETc), as for the results of previous experiments showing lesser water requirements of small berry tomato cultivars compared with traditional ones. Crop response to irrigation has been found proportional to water applied. Biomass (leaves and stems) as well as total and commercial yield were higher with 70% ETc treatment, due to a higher number of fruit per plant and average berry weight. As for quality, irrigation caused significant decrease of °Brix, but only in the 70% thesis. However, °Brix and lycopene yield per ha increased proportionally to total yield. 'Mascalzone' was the more productive cultivar, both in terms of fruit and aboveground vegetation biomass, showing greater water productivity. The reduction of 30% of processing tomato crop coefficient, as applied in this experiment, was found excessive, thus crop water requirements were underestimated. By recalculating the water balance without any crop coefficient reduction IRRINET model estimated and measured soil water volumetric contents were matching.

Battilani A.,Consorzio Bonifica | Letterio T.,Consorzio Bonifica | Chiari G.,Consorzio Bonifica
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

The FAO model AquaCrop has been calibrated using historical datasets from irrigation experiments carried out from 2004 to 2012 in the Po Valley (northern Italy) sub-humid climate. Calibrated parameters have been then validated on eight independent datasets collected in a period of time ranging from 2004 to 2010. The model has been validated for the following outputs: soil-water content, total yield, harvest index, total biomass and its partition in above ground vegetation and fruit. The objective was to analyze the performance of AquaCrop under different irrigation strategies affecting the plant water status during the crop cycles and the final productivity. AquaCrop model adequately simulated processing tomato yield but it was less precise predicting harvest index and biomass growth in phenological stages other than plant maturity. Soil volumetric water content prediction was difficult to calibrate. The model seems not able to react to particular soil hydraulic conditions, like significant capillary rise from shallow water table, or accumulating errors originated by poor prediction of crop ET with deficit irrigation management. Nevertheless, getting close to harvest and in dry years, predicted values are matching better observed soil volumetric water content. In order to calibrate AquaCrop for the local condition some of the conservative parameters needed to be modified. AquaCrop, although not designed to be used to manage crop irrigation at daily step, shows the potentiality to be adapted or modified that respect.

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