Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar

Almería, Spain

Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar

Almería, Spain
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Bonachela S.,University of Almeria | Acuna R.A.,Austral University of Chile | Magan J.J.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar | Malfa O.,IRTA - Institute of Agricultural-Alimentary Research and Technology
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research | Year: 2010

This work assessed the seasonal dynamics of the substrate oxygen content and the response to oxygen enrichment of nutrient solution (oxyfertigation) of autumn-winter sweet pepper and spring melon crops grown on rockwool slabs (2003/04 season) and perlite grow-bags (2004/05), compared to non-enriched crops. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) values in the nutrient solution were higher for all the oxygen enriched treatments (> 20 mg L-1) than for the non-enriched ones (~4 mg L-1), but no significant differences were found in the substrate solution. For pepper crops, DO values were highest at the onset and, especially, at the end of the cycle in winter, while the lowest DO values (3 to 4 mg L-1) occurred during September and October. For melon, DO values decreased progressively from the onset of the cycles to values ≤ 3 mg L-1 during the second half of the cycles. For pepper crops, there were no significant differences between oxygen treatments for fruit production, which could be attributed to the fact that DO values were > 3 mg L-1 throughout each crop cycle. However, a significant 7% increase in total and marketable yield, associated with a higher fruit number, was observed for the oxygen enriched melon grown on rockwool slabs, whereas no significant differences were found for the melon grown on perlite grow-bags. In conclusion, the use of inexpensive systems of substrate oxygen enrichment should be restricted to rockwool substrates and to crop periods when a high oxygen demand coincides with low oxygen availability, such as the period from melon flowering phase.

Torrellas M.,IRTA Research and Technology Food and Agriculture | Anton A.,IRTA Research and Technology Food and Agriculture | Anton A.,Rovira i Virgili University | Lopez J.C.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2012

Purpose Protected crops have expanded significantly in the Mediterranean area over the last few decades as a successful means to provide abundant and high-quality produce. Although resources are generally used efficiently, greenhouse areas cause major environmental impacts. The aim of this work was to study, from an environmental point of view, the improvement capacity of greenhouse areas in the Mediterranean region and to assess several alternative agricultural practices to decrease their contribution to the environmental impacts in this system. Materials and methods The methodology used was life cycle assessment (LCA) based on a tomato crop grown in a multitunnel greenhouse in Almeria, on the southeast coast of Spain. The functional unit chosen was 1 ton of loose classic tomatoes. Five midpoint impact categories and one energy flow indicator were selected for their relevance. The agricultural practice alternatives evaluated were reduction of volume of substrate and fertilizers, extension of substrate and greenhouse life span and increase in renewable energy for electricity production. Results and discussion The results indicated that the main contributors to impact categories in the tomato production were structure, auxiliary equipment and fertilizers. Structure accounted for between 30 and 48 % of the contributions, depending on the impact category. The principal burdens in the auxiliary equipment stage were substrate and consumption of electricity. Fertilizers environmental impacts were due to emissions during their manufacture and application to the crop. In a best-case option, taking into account the best alternatives, contributions to the impact categories were reduced by between 17 and 30 %. The LCA methodology proved to be a useful tool to evaluate the environmental damage of this agricultural activity. The importance of including farm infrastructure in the assessment was demonstrated as it was a major contributor. The risk of eutrophication could be reduced by adjustment of the fertilizers-water balance and implementation of a closed-loop irrigation system. Future technological improvements should be developed to increase yields and thereby directly reduce the environmental burdens per unit produce. Conclusions The present study served to assess the environmental impacts of a tomato crop in a multi-Tunnel greenhouse on the coast of Almeria. The assessment was used to evaluate alternatives for improvement of cleaner production in greenhouse areas. Further research should focus on assuring the feasibility of the suggested options. © Springer-Verlag 2012.

Hueso J.J.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar | Cuevas J.,University of Almeria
Agricultural Water Management | Year: 2010

The successful application of postharvest regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) over ten consecutive years (from season 1999/2000 to season 2007/2008) confirms the sustainability of this strategy for producing 'Algerie' loquat. Postharvest RDI consisting in a reduction of watering (between 45 and 80% depending on the season) from early June until the end of August, improved loquat profitability by increasing fruit value and by reducing water consumption with respect to fully irrigated trees (control). The increase in fruit value in RDI trees was due to a consistent improvement in harvest earliness as a result of an earlier blooming. Water savings of around 20% did not diminish yield nor fruit quality. Water use efficiency in RDI trees rose by over 30%. Water productivity reached 9.5 € m-3 of water applied in RDI trees versus 6.6 € m-3 in control trees. The most noticeable effect of RDI on vegetative growth was a significant and progressive decline in trunk growth. The canopy volume seems to be strongly influenced by pruning and no significant effects were detected in this parameter. Our results confirm the suitability of RDI in loquat and the economic benefits of saving water during the summer. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Fernandez M.D.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar | Bonachela S.,University of Almeria | Orgaz F.,CSIC - Institute for Sustainable Agriculture | Thompson R.,University of Almeria | And 4 more authors.
Irrigation Science | Year: 2010

The standard FAO methodology for the determination of crop water requirements uses the product of reference evapotranspiration (ETo) and crop coefficient values. This methodology can be also applied to soil-grown plastic greenhouse crops, which occupy extended areas in the Mediterranean basin, but there are few data assessing methodologies for estimating ETo in plastic greenhouses. Free-drainage lysimeters were used between 1993 and 2004 to measure ETo inside a plastic greenhouse with a perennial grass in Almería, south-eastern Spain. Mean daily measured greenhouse ETo ranged from values slightly less than 1 mm day-1 during winter to values of approximately 4 mm day-1 during summer in July. When the greenhouse surface was whitened from March to September (a common practice to control temperature), measured ETo was reduced by an average of 21.4%. Different methodologies to calculate ETo were checked against the measurements in the greenhouse without and with whitening. The methods that performed best in terms of accuracy and statistics were: FAO56 Penman-Monteith with a fixed aerodynamic resistance of 150 s m-1, FAO24 Pan Evaporation with a constant Kp of 0.79, a locally-calibrated radiation method and Hargreaves. Given the data requirements of the different methods, the Hargreaves and the radiation methods are recommended for the calculation of greenhouse ETo because of their simplicity. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Hueso J.J.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar | Alonso F.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar | Gonzalez M.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2011

Regulated deficit irrigation prior to bloom makes loquat more profitable by advancing flowering and consequently the next season's harvesting. To achieve this goal, an irrigation strategy was developed in which watering was completely suppressed during shoot growth (June-July in SE Spain), until the trees accumulated a water stress integral of over 47 MPa day. With the aim of maximizing flowering advancement, the effect of an earlier irrigation restriction was studied. Three deficit irrigation treatments were compared: T1, water cut at the beginning of harvest; T2, water cut at the end of harvest, and T3, irrigation suppressed five weeks after harvest. T1 accumulated a water stress integral of 50.4 MPa between April 7 th and June 22 nd (76 days). T2 accumulated 57.9 MPa between May 4 th and July 13 th (70 days). T3 extended from June 8 th to August 3 rd (56 days), accumulating 57.4 MPa. Water applied throughout the season was 585 mm for T1, 568 mm for T2 and 587 mm for T3, resulting in water savings of around 25 % compared to full irrigation needs (763 mm) in the area. Earlier water withholding modified bloom date and length. T3 trees reached full bloom on October 27 th, 10 days before fully irrigated trees located in a nearby plot. Bloom season was short in T3 trees (22 days). T1 advanced full bloom by 18 days compared to T3 trees in a small proportion of shoots, those located at the top of the tree (early bloom), whereas most shoots flowered nine days later than T3 (late bloom). Early and late blooms of T1 were staggered, extending over 40 days. T2 lengthened flowering by 30 days and advanced full bloom by four days in comparison to T3. High flowering intensity was observed under all deficit irrigation treatments, especially in T3 and early flowering of T1. This work has allowed us to determine the best timing for deficit irrigation with a view to maximizing flowering advancement.

Gonzalez M.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar | Cuevas J.,University of Almeria
Plant Systematics and Evolution | Year: 2011

Cherimoya (Annona cherimola) is a subtropical tree crop of Andean origin whose fruit set results extremely low in farming areas outside of its natural occurrence. The lack of efficient pollinators and dichogamy are often argued to be the main constraints resulting in this low reproductive success. Herein, we describe the reproductive barriers exhibited by this crop and whether wind and insects play a role in cherimoya pollination in Spain, the main region of cultivation. A. cherimola exhibits marked protogynous dichogamy with large differences in the duration of female (around 28 h) and male (>8 h) phases. Stigma receptivity and pollen release do not fully coincide with the morphological changes of the petals defining the female and male phases. Synchronization of sexual phases among different flowers from different trees of the same genotype was high during the whole blooming season. Effective herkogamy of approach type also limits pollen deposition within the same flower. Wind does not play any role in cherimoya pollination. Insect visitors to cherimoya flowers in Spain were found to be inefficient in transferring pollen grains. Cherimoya flowers do not reject self-pollen to achieve fertilization. A. cherimola shows preferential allogamy based on efficient dichogamy reinforced by elevated synchrony among flowers in their sexual phases. Herkogamy hampers autogamy, although pollen deposition by gravity in cherimoya pendulous flowers explains the reduced reproductive success observed in isolated flowers. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Gonzalez M.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar | Cuevas J.,University of Almeria
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2013

Cherimoya is a subtropical fruit tree indigenous to the inter-Andean valleys between Peru and Ecuador. Cherimoya dichogamy and the lack of efficient pollinators in Spain hinder natural fruit set, making hand pollination unavoidable. Cherimoya flowers are formed on current season growth and on 1-year-old shoots of different vigour. Hand-pollination allows selection of the more convenient flowers to be pollinated in order to obtain high quality fruits. Here, we have determined the frequency, fertility and flowering dates and patterns of the different kinds of shoots (high, medium and low vigour) found in cherimoya trees as the first step to modifying current pruning procedures. The results show that adult vase-trained trees traditionally-pruned have an equilibrated proportion of vigorous, semi-vigorous, and weak shoots. However, the number of flowers formed and the distribution of flowers along the wood were significantly different among the different kinds of shoots. Vigorous shoots formed an average of 65 flowers; semi-vigorous shoots produced an average of 36 flowers, while weak wood formed only 17 flowers per shoot. Flowering pattern was also different. Basal nodes of vigorous shoots formed a high proportion of flowers, while apical nodes did so in weak shoots. The flowering season extended from May to August with peak flowering occurring in mid-June with no differences in flowering dates among shoots. Based on these results, we recommend pruning to focus on encouraging the production of vigorous and semi-vigorous shoots able to sustain a crop load of 400 fruits per tree and to develop sufficient pollen-donor flowers. Handpollination is advised for flowers formed in the basal-central nodes of these shoots. A higher number of flowers per node did not diminish their size. © 2013 ISHS.

Gonzalez M.,Estacion Experimental de la Fundacion Cajamar | Cuevas J.,University of Almeria
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

Cross-pollination response in olive varies according to the genotype, environment and management. The index of self-incompatibility (ISI) measures such cross-pollination response in terms of fruit set. Here, we present the comparison of ISI values of 'Arbequina' trees located in two different sites (Tabernas and La Cañada de San Urbano, Almería, Spain) and years (2002 and 2003). The results show that crosspollination response differed extraordinarily depending on the site and the year. ISI in La Cañada was 0.03, while in Tabernas, ISI was 1.51 (year 2002) and 0.69 (year 2003) which allows classifying 'Arbequina' either as totally self-incompatible (La Cañada) or as self-compatible (Tabernas). No clear relation could be established among ISI values and parameters linked to flowering intensity and quality. At this regard, flowering levels measured by the number of inflorescences per node and quality estimated by the percentage of fertile inflorescence did not differ among locations and years. Nonetheless, 'Arbequina' trees located in La Cañada de San Urbano (ISI=0.03) produced more flowers per panicle (p=0.05) and presented a lower percentage of hermaphrodite flowers (p=0.06); both parameters were negatively related (r=-0.73, p<0.01). Cross-pollination response of individual 'Arbequina' trees was positively related to the number of flowers per inflorescence fitting an exponential curve (r2=0.37, p<0.05). The results confirm that cross-pollination response in olive is extremely variable even for a single genotype and suggest that this variability is linked to flower fertility.

Gimenez C.,University of Cordoba, Spain | Gallardo M.,University of Almeria | Martinez-Gaitan C.,University of Almeria | Stockle C.O.,Washington State University | And 2 more authors.
Irrigation Science | Year: 2013

The VegSyst simulation model was developed to assist with N and irrigation management of sweet pepper grown in plastic greenhouses in the Mediterranean Basin. The model was developed for use in an on-farm decision support system with the requirement for readily available input data. Dry matter production (DMP), crop N uptake and crop evapotranspiration (ETc) are simulated on a daily basis. DMP is calculated from daily fraction of intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), PAR radiation, and radiation-use efficiency. Fraction of intercepted PAR is calculated from relative thermal time. Crop N uptake is calculated as the product of DMP and N content which is described by a power function of DMP. ETc is the product of daily reference evapotranspiration (ETo) using an adapted Penman-Monteith equation, and a daily simulated crop coefficient value. The VegSyst model for soil-grown, greenhouse pepper was calibrated in one crop and validated in three different crops. In the validation, the model accurately simulated crop growth, N uptake and ETc. Relative to measured values, simulated DMP at final harvest was 0.89-1.06, and crop N uptake was 0.97-1.13. Simulated cumulative ETc for complete crops was 0.95-1.05 of measured values. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Gallardo M.,University of Almeria | Gimenez C.,University of Cordoba, Spain | Martinez-Gaitan C.,University of Almeria | Stockle C.O.,Washington State University | And 2 more authors.
Agricultural Water Management | Year: 2011

Like many intensive vegetable production systems, the greenhouse-based system on the south-eastern (SE) Mediterranean coast of Spain is associated with considerable NO3 - contamination of groundwater. Drip irrigation and sophisticated fertigation systems provide the technical capacity for precise nutrient and irrigation management of soil-grown crops which would reduce NO3 - leaching loss. The VegSyst crop simulation model was developed to simulate daily crop biomass production, N uptake and crop evapotranspiration (ETc). VegSyst is driven by thermal time and consequently is adaptable to different planting dates, different greenhouse cooling practices and differences in greenhouse design. It will be subsequently incorporated into a practical on-farm decision support system to enable growers to more effectively use the advanced technical capacity of this horticultural system for optimal N and irrigation management.VegSyst was calibrated and validated for muskmelon grown in Mediterranean plastic greenhouse in SE Spain using data of four melon crops, two grown in 2005 and two in 2006 using two management strategies of water and N management in each year. VegSyst very accurately simulated crop biomass production and accurately simulated crop N uptake over time. Model performance in simulating dry matter production (DMP) over time was better using a double radiation use efficiency (RUE) approach (5.0 and 3.2gMJ-1 PAR for vegetative and reproductive growth phases) compared to a single RUE approach (4.3gMJ-1 PAR). The simulation of ETc over time, was very accurate in the two 2006 muskmelon crops and somewhat less so in the two 2005 crops. The error in the simulated final values, expressed as a percentage of final measured values was -1 to 6% for DMP, 2-11% for crop N uptake, and -11 to 6% for ETc. VegSyst provided effective simulation of DMP, N uptake and ETc for crops with different planting dates. This model can be readily adapted to other crops. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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