Cenicaña evaluates water consumption in new varieties

The Research Center seeks to calculate evapotranspiration with greater precision, from the use of weighing lysimeters. The studies started with the variety CC 93-4418.

With the aim of achieving greater precision in the water balance and therefore improving irrigation management in the sugarcane crop, Cenicaña investigates the water consumption of the new varieties during the different stages of crop development. , both in staff and in soca.

The basis of this work is in the precision of the data with which the evapotranspiration of the plant is calculated. It is important to remember that the water available in the soil is depleted by plant consumption (transpiration), by surface evaporation and by drainage. The sum of perspiration and evaporation is known as evapotranspiration.

The evapotranspiration of sugarcane is calculated with mathematical functions from climatic and meteorological data obtained from the measurement of the water that evaporates daily in a tank. For this experiment Cenicaña uses drainage lysimeters with weighing.

Édgar Hincapié, Soil and Waters engineer from Cenicaña and who leads the research, explains that the weighing lysimeters are plastic tanks, externally reinforced with a metal cage-shaped structure. These are installed in the field, filled with soil and grown with the plant of interest, in this case sugar cane. Inside the lysimeter humidity and tension sensors are installed. In addition, the tank rests on a rigid platform, supported by four load cells. The tank consists of a drainage system and a meter to account for the water output.

The data taken by the load cells, the humidity and tension meters and the counter are continuously recorded and transmitted by a wireless network to a central computer, so that the information can be permanently displayed and verified.

According to the researcher, the first experiments are being carried out with the variety CC 93-4418, since it is a variety for a dry-semi-dry environment and that its participation in agribusiness is increasing. For this, weighing lysimeters were installed in a 0,4 ha lot at the Cenicaña Experimental Station in San Antonio de los Caballeros; the crop undergoes conventional agronomic management.

The first results of the research are expected to be obtained in approximately one year, and from them the possibility of expanding the study to other varieties of sugar cane that are promising will be reviewed.

Information letter
Year 2 / Number 2 / December 2014

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