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Estimating crop coefficients from fraction of ground cover and height

Allen, Richard G., Pereira, Luis S.
Irrigation science 2009 v.28 no.1 pp. 17-34
crop coefficient, evaporation, horticultural crops, leaves, soil, stomatal conductance, trees, understory, vegetable growing, vegetation, vines, California
The FAO-56 procedure for estimating the crop coefficient K c as a function of fraction of ground cover and crop height has been formalized in this study using a density coefficient K d. The density coefficient is multiplied by a basal K c representing full cover conditions, K cb full, to produce a basal crop coefficient that represents actual conditions of ET and vegetation coverage when the soil surface is dry. K cb full is estimated primarily as a function of crop height. K cb full can be adjusted for tree crops by multiplying by a reduction factor (F r) estimated using a mean leaf stomatal resistance term. The estimate for basal crop coefficient, K cb, is further modified for tree crops if some type of ground-cover exists understory or between trees. The single (mean) crop coefficient is similarly estimated and is adjusted using a K soil coefficient that represents background evaporation from wet soil. The K c estimation procedure was applied to the development periods for seven vegetable crops grown in California. The average root mean square error between estimated and measured K c was 0.13. The K c estimation procedure was also used to estimate K c during midseason periods of horticultural crops (trees and vines) reported in the literature. Values for mean leaf stomatal resistance and the F r reduction factor were derived that explain the literature K c values and that provide a consistent means to estimate K c over a broad range of fraction of ground cover.