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Subprojects Phase I

Task 1.- Use of Deficient Irrigation Control strategies in the Japanese plum tree.

Research Center La Orden-Valdesequera: Ana Isabel Martín Vertedor and María José Moñino Espino.
Operative Center and Irrigation Technology of Alentejo: Jorge Maia and Isaurindo Oliveira.
Project coordinator or responsible researcher: María José Moñino Espino (Research Center La Orden-Valdesequera) and Isaurindo Oliveira (Operative Center and Irrigation Technology of Alentejo).


The fruit culture is a very dynamic sector for the cultivated surface as much as for the economic and human recourses investment. The Japanese plum tree is one of the fruit species grown in the irrigated lands of Extremadura in Spain and Alentejo in Portugal, which has experimented a biggest growth in the last years, due to the great adaptation of the harvest in both regions and to the good perspectives of the market. The national production of the crop represents the 30% and the 38% in Portugal and Spain respectively. 
 One of the main problems about this crop is the excess of energy interfering in the productive  yield and in the execution of the cultural operations.
 The objective of the project is to set up deficient irrigation strategies (RDC)  to control the vegetative growth excess in the trees, through the reduction of irrigation water in determined phenolic states, without damaging the production and/or the crop quality or the following year production.
 Once the work is finished the necessary tools will be available to support the fruit activity plan and the farmers from Extremadura and Alentejo will get advices about deficient irrigation in the convenient crop area for the Japanese plum tree. The irrigation doses will be regulated depending on the length of the maturing cycle, getting an optimum production, an efficient use of irrigation water and less crop expenses. 


The use of RDC strategies in the Japanese plum tree will be useful for a better management and utilization of water recourses as much as to control the vegetative growth in the trees and to reduce the some crop expenses, improving the water use efficiency. The objectives are: 

  1. Develop RDC strategies to reduce the vegetative growth in two varieties of Japanese with a different cycle length without damaging the production or the state of the tree. 
  2. Evaluate the productive response from both plum trees varieties with different cycle length according to the RDC strategies: during early varieties post harvest in Extremadura, and during the stone hardening in a late variety post harvest, in Extremadura and Alentejo.
  3. Prepare supporting tools for the decision making according to the climatic information and teledetection.
Task 2. -Use of Deficient Irrigation Control strategies in maize. Application of the CERES-Maize model to irrigation and nitrogenated fertilizer management. Evaluation of the model.

Escuela Superior Agraria de Beja del Instituto Politécnico de Beja (ESAB).
Project coordinator or responsible researcher: Ana Luísa Fernández (ESAB).


 The maize is one of the most important crops on the agrarian national surface, it occupied near a 3% of the total agricultural Portuguese area in 2005. It is a sensitive crop regarding the available amounts of water, for this reason the decisions of the farmer about the irrigation management are many times above the necessary. On the other hand a correct irrigation improves the nitrogenated fertilizer efficiency and reduces nitrogen loses by lixiviation.

The fast drop of water resources in the dry and semi-dry regions has leaded, in several countries, to study deficient controlled irrigation (RDC), applied to maize crop, letting the economy of water and the production maintenance.

In the last years several simulation models have been developed to be used in agriculture with different levels of complexity. The International Benchmark Sites Network for Agrotechnology Transfer (IBSNAT) models, which was a project with an international head office in the University of Hawaii in order to develop a support system for decision and agricultural technology transfer, are remarkable for its importance. This system, called Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) is provided of two databases, simulation models of different crops production, being maize among them, and it has biophysical and economic analyses tools.  Besides, for the prevision of crops yield, the set of programs of DSSAT system, allows to evaluate the use of the natural resource and to value the risk associated to different cultural practices, mainly the irrigation management and the nitrogenated fertilization. There is a CERES-Maize model included in the DSSAT program platform for the simulation of maize cultivation. 

With this work it is intended to study the  CERES-Maize model application in the s RDC strategies prevision in maize from Alentejo, optimizing  the water use efficiency and controlling the nitrogenated fertilization. Assays will be developed in the country which will let calibrate the model, which will be completed with analyses of satellite images. 


The objective is to study the CERES-Maize model and to start the calibration in agricultural enterprises in Alentejo, suggesting its application in the strategies definition of RDC in maize. It is intended to use the water recourses and the nitrogenated fertilizer taking part in the natural water recourses preservation, reducing the water expenses and improving the water use efficiency. With the calibration of the CERES-Maize model and the development of RDC strategies in maize the short term objectives are:

  1. Develop RDC  strategies simulated through the CERES-Maize model in the regions.
  2. To prepare supporting tools for the decision making based on the climatic information and teledetection.
  3. To carry out Technology Transfer actions about the use of RDC  in maize
  4. To develop supporting tools for the decision making facing the climatic alterations prevision.