In the test, the limited water supply did not affect productivity when decisions were made with the Site-Specific Agriculture approach.
In order to demonstrate how the Site-Specific Agriculture (AEPS) approach offers advantages in terms of productivity and profitability, between 2015 and 2016 Cenicaña and the Pichichí sugar mill used different management and technologies in a productive unit with limited water supply.
The results in terms of productivity and profitability showed that the scarcity of water may not be decisive when a specific agronomic management is carried out for the cultivation site.
It began by identifying the type of soil and rapidly usable water surface (LARA), in order to select the most suitable irrigation technology for the conditions of the place.
The verification , revealed that the soil is clayey skeletal, from the Pichindé consociation, agroecological zone 29H0. The LARA corresponded to 30 mm.
These two characteristics were enough to identify the main need in the cultivation area: to improve the efficiency in the conduction and application of irrigation.
The hydrological balance is an important tool for making irrigation decisions. It consists of determining the difference between the water supply and the irrigation requirement on the property. The result of the balance indicates if the water resource is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the crop according to the irrigation system used and allows to identify if works such as wells, drainage systems or changes in the irrigation system are required.
Thus, for this 29H0 agroecological zone in the foothills, the CC 00-3257 variety was selected and two irrigation technologies with a AEPS approach: gravity irrigation and continuous furrow with reduced flow, and drip irrigation in continuous furrow.
The variety SP 71-6949 was also used, as well as gravity irrigation, continuous furrow and windows that are normally used by the mill in the area.
The two varieties were planted in plots with the three irrigation systems.
During the entire growing cycle (template) 31 drip irrigations were carried out with a 16 mm sheet per event, 27 irrigations with reduced flow applying 34 mm per irrigation event and 9 irrigations through windows with an applied sheet of 151 mm per event .
- The saving in volume of water applied per hectare in the cultivation cycle was 52% in drip irrigation and 11% in irrigation with reduced flow compared to irrigation through windows. The slope of the terrain (> 2%) favored the advance of the water in the reduced flow system with flows between 0.2 - 0.3 l / s per furrow.
- There were no statistical differences in production in tons of sugarcane per hectare (TCH) between irrigation systems with the AEPS approach, but there were between these and window irrigation:
- CC 00-3257 and SP 71-6949 were significantly higher in TCH with drip irrigation and reduced flow, compared to window irrigation.
- CC 00-3257 was superior in sugar yield with the different irrigation systems.
By increasing the frequency of irrigation with the AEPS focus systems, the cane tonnage increased. However, this increase did not mean an increase in water consumption compared to window irrigation, since these systems improved the efficiencies in conduction and application.
In the case of this validation site, the profitability was 0.6 times higher in the systems with the AEPS approach compared to the other management.
Less water produced more tons of sugar per hectare (TAH).