Water management in Mediterranean orchards

Water management in Mediterranean orchards

Demonstration Site description

DiCEM has several demonstration sites for optimal irrigation management studies in fruit tree orchards located in Southern Italy (Basilicata region). Studies are mainly devoted to the assessment of tree productivity and vegetative growth under irrigation management aimed at improve water use efficiency mainly in peach, olive, apricot, kiwifruit.

Sites host a series of technological supports (e.g. various soil moisture probes and weather stations) used for daily soil water budget calculation which employ dedicated software and specific web-based platform. Interactions at the sites with farmers and staff member of the Regional Extension Service are routinely used to both collect needs and exchange knowledge.

Results obtained so far

-  Reduction of annual irrigation volume supplied;

-  Definition of specific KC to be adopted after harvest in peach;

-  Improvement of water use efficiency;

-  Involvement of farmers in use of new technology for monitoring of soil moisture;

-  Reduction of environmental impact (salinization) of poor quality irrigation water;

-  Improved knowledge in irrigation issues of technician of growers’ association.

Success factors

  • Relevance of the theme;
  • Dissemination actions performed (seminars; open days; visits to the experimental orchard; publications);
  • Direct involvement of the different stakeholders (farmers, policy makers, researchers, technicians).

Performance indicators

  • Irrigation water volume saved;
  • Increased yield produced per unit of irrigation water supplied;
  • New KC to be adopted locally;
  • Less variable within-irrigation of soil moisture.

Indicators for the efficiency of project result disseminations

  • Number of participants to dissemination actions;
  • Number of publications at National and International level.

Repeatability & Applicability

Due to consolidated interactions with Growers’ Association, innovations are disseminated to a large number of farmers and stakeholders.

Further references

Dichio B., Xiloyannis C., Sofo A., Montanaro G., 2007. Effects of post-harvest regulated deficit irrigation on carbohydrate and nitrogen partitioning, yield quality and vegetative growth of peach trees. Plant and Soil, 290: 127-137.

Dichio B., Xiloyannis C., Sofo A., Montanaro G., 2006. Osmotic regulation in leaves and roots of olive tree (Olea europaea L.) during water deficit and rewatering. Tree Physiology, 26:179–185

Sofo A., Dichio B., Montanaro G., Xiloyannis C. (2009). Photosynthetic performance and light response of two Italian olive cultivars under different water and light regimes. Photosynthetica, 47 (4): 602-608.

Montanaro G., Dichio B., Xiloyannis C., 2009. Shade mitigates photoinhibition and enhances water use efficiency in kiwifruit under drought. Photosynthetica 47 (3): 363-371.

Sofo A., Montanaro G., Dichio B., Xiloyannis C, 2009. Shade effect on photosynthesis and photoinhibition in olive during drought and rewatering. Agricultural, Water Management, 96: 1201–1206

Dichio B., Montanaro G., Xiloyannis C., 2011. Integration of the regulated deficit irrigation strategy in a sustainable orchard management system. Acta Horticulturae, 889:221-226. ISBN 978-90-66057-13-5.

Xiloyannis C., Montanaro G., Celano G., Dichio B., 2010. I cambiamenti climatici e la gestione sostenibile delle risorse nel sistema frutteto. Italian Journal of Agronomy (ISSN 1125-4718) vol 5(4): 69-72. (in Italian).

Xiloyannis C., Dichio B., Montanaro G., 2010. Sustainable apricot orchard management to improve soil fertility and water use efficiency. Acta Horticulturae, 862: 419-423.



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