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Temporal variability of water footprint for cereal production and its controls in Saskatchewan, Canada

Author:
Zhao, Ying, Ding, Dianyuan, Si, Bingcheng, Zhang, Zhenhua, Hu, Wei, Schoenau, Jeff
Source:
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.660 pp. 1306-1316
ISSN:
0048-9697
Subject:
barley, farms, grain crops, grain yield, production technology, spring wheat, temporal variation, water footprint, Saskatchewan
Abstract:
The water footprint (WF) of crop production is a user-friendly means to analyze the consumption of water resource in agricultural production systems. This study assessed the inter-annual variability of grain yield, protein yield, and their corresponding WFs and determined the major factors influencing the WFs in Saskatchewan of Canada. Both spring wheat and barley showed a significant trend of increasing grain and protein yield from 1965 to 2014, at 194.1 and 179.2kgha−1decade−1 for grain yield (P<0.01) and 18.6 and 17.3kgha−1decade−1 for protein yield, respectively. Coincident with this was that both the grain yield-based and protein yield-based WFs of spring wheat and barley in Saskatchewan showed a downward trend. The grain yield-based WFs ranged from 1.08 to 1.80m3kg−1 for spring wheat, and from 0.90 to 1.38m3kg−1 for barley, whereas the protein yield-based WFs ranged from 7.93 to 10.44m3kg−1 for spring wheat and from 8.14 to 16.47m3kg−1 for barley. The grain yield-based WFs were affected by local precipitation followed by expenses on inputs from farms and the scientific and technological contributions. Under the same protein yield, the protein yield-based WFs tended to be lower in spring wheat than barley. The grain yield-based WFs of cereal crops have large potential for improvement in the future.