Irrigation Practices as Alternative Means of Supporting Rain-fed Agriculture: A Case Study of Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.)

Solomon Abirdew Yirga


Estimation of evapotranspiration is important for study, design, determining crop water requirement and management of irrigation systems. Also it’s important for determining irrigation water requirement during dry spell and water shortage i.e. when the evapotranspiration is greater than effective rainfall. Based on this, the study was conducted in Cheha district, Gurage Zone with determine crop water requirement of potato. In line to this, ten years climatological recorded data (2008-2017) for Indibir station on (sunshine duration hr /day), maximum and minimum temperature (OC), humidity (%) and wind speed (km/day) at 2 meters height were used to determine ETo using Penman combination method. Secondary data were used to collect important soil parameters required for determination of crop water requirement. Lengths of growing periods, planting date and crop varieties data were received from the validation value of the local farmers and CDAO.  Crop coefficients (kc), rooting depth, critical depletion fractions, yield response factors and crop height were obtained from food and agriculture organization of the United Nations guidelines (No. 56). The analyzed data indicated that reference crop evapotranspiration ranged from 2.40 to 4.73 mm with a mean of 3.56mm. The assessment has showed that the water requirement of potato is 63.2, 84.1, 145.8 and 77.2mm during initial, development, mid and late growth stages, respectively. The effective rainfall contribution throughout the growing stage of potato in the area is 8.5, 23, 187.2 and 158.1mm all through initial, development, mid and late growth stages, whereas the net irrigation requirement of potato throughout the dry spell period is 52.9, 61.3, 14.9 and 0mm in initial, development, mid and late growth stages, respectively. Soil and water conservation management practice, water harvesting technology and agronomic practices should be applied, principally mulching is very important to save soil moisture during high heat stress and dry spell or water shortage.

Key terms: reference evapotranspiration, crop water requirement, potato

DOI: 10.7176/JAAS/55-03

Publication date:May 31st 2019

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