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New approaches for precise irrigation in hedgerow olive orchards
- Fernandez, J. E., Cuevas, M. V., Perez-Martin, A., Rodriguez-Dominguez, C. M., Hernandez-Santana, V., Romero, R., Garcia, J. M., Montero, A., Padilla-Diaz, C. M., Egea, G., Alcon, F., Perez Ruiz, M., Garcia-Tejero, I. F., Diaz-Espejo, A.
- Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1199 pp. 225-240
- economic analysis, fruit trees, irrigation scheduling, irrigation systems, irrigation water, olives, orchards, Spain
- This work focuses on the suitability of precise irrigation (PI) in hedgerow olive orchards with high plant density. The success of PI relies on a wise choice of irrigation system, the irrigation strategy and irrigation scheduling method, as well as the production target. After 6 years of testing of different irrigation strategies and a variety of methods to schedule irrigation in an 'Arbequina' olive orchard with 1667 trees ha-1, we address here the potential of PI for this type of orchard in an area of southern Spain where water for irrigation is scarce. We conclude that PI is a suitable option for fruit tree orchards nowadays, thanks to increasing knowledge on the crop response to water conditions and to technological advances that increase the applicability of PI to commercial orchards. Our results suggest careful choice of the production target, and illustrate the importance of a detailed economic analysis to properly decide on the main aspects related to PI.