Estimating crop yield and production changes as a function of irrigation deficit based on watershed and county level data Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/mc87pt43c

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  • Response of agricultural crops to irrigation water deficit is well-understood at the field scale. Broader scale (watershed and county levels) studies have been less frequently performed. Data collection at the field level for extensive areas is time consuming and expensive. The importance of studies at a broader scale for evaluating future scenarios of agricultural land use justifies exploring alternative approaches that produce reasonable results in a faster and more economical manner. The objective of this study was to verify the ability of coarser level data to provide general trends of changes in agricultural cropping patterns as a function of water use management in the Willamette basin. In this study, watershed and county level data were used to analyze broader scale crop water relationships, since these data are abundant and easily accessible. Further, future estimates of crop water use, based on estimates of yield and acreage changes , were attempted for a study period spanning current conditions (2000) through 2050. FAO Yield Response to Water Model was used to relate crop yield and production to applied irrigation water. Assumptions made to apply this model at the basin level related mostly to climatic factors and dynamic change of the system. Changes in maximum crop yield for all important crops grown in the Willamette basin were estimated using a logistic function parameterized with historic and current datasets. It was important to consider the dynamic system response when modeling the system to incorporate environmental, technological and socio-economic factors not reflected in the original model. The results for crop yield showed a decrease through time for sweet corn, stable yield for cherries, ryegrass, and grapes, and increasing yield for alfalfa, strawberries and raspberries. Crops showing higher sensitivity to water deficit included snap beans, winter and spring wheat, oats and filberts. Production estimates showed 3 groups of crops: predominantly successful (filberts, cherries, ryegrass, oats and spring wheat), stable (strawberries, alfalfa, orchardgrass, mint and fescue) and predominantly unsuccessful crops (winter wheat, sweet corn, snap beans and berries). County level and watershed level data proved helpful in developing a more comprehensive view of crop production and its irrigation deficit response, using models incorporating information from finer spatial scale experiments. Socio-economic, technologic and environmental variables that might influence agriculture over time should be investigated in further studies.
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