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Agricultural Water Management
Volume 264, 2022, 107510

Simulation of wheat yield using CERES-Wheat under rainfed and supplemental irrigation conditions in a semi-arid environment

Barira Shoukat Hafizaa,1, Wajid Ishaquea,b,1, Raheel Osmanc,d, Marjan Azize

Department of Biological Sciences, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Islamabad, Pakistan.


Wheat-fallow rotation is the major land-use system in the rainfed cropping system of Pakistan. Crop production in rainfed cropping systems is often jeopardized due to the scare and erratic seasonal patterns of rainfall. Climate change is further threatening the extent and productivity of rainfed agriculture in Pakistan. Climatic risk reduction strategies such as supplemental irrigation (SI) can assist in sustaining the productivity of rainfed agriculture. However, little has been done to investigate the potential of SI in sustaining the productivity of the rainfed cropping system of Pakistan despite the recent water resource developments in the rainfed regions of the country. For this purpose, a four-year (2010–2014) study was conducted to assess wheat yield and water productivity under rainfed and SI using a crop modeling approach. Calibrated CERES-Wheat was evaluated for its ability to simulate soil moisture dynamics, water productivity, canopy growth, in-season biomass, phenology, grain yield, and biomass at harvest based on soil water balance. Results showed a good to excellent performance of CERES-Wheat during evaluation. For example, combined values of soil moisture content between different layers, root zone soil moisture, seasonal crop evapotranspiration, in-season biomass growth, and canopy cover showed NRMSE values ranging from 13%–89%, 5–11%, 2–17%, 12–26%, and 13–22%, respectively. The NRMSE values of rainfall productivity of biomass and grain yield and water productivity of biomass and grain yield ranged from 18%, 16%, and 17%, 6%, respectively. The model was also applied to determine favorable management practices (appropriate planting dates from 15 October to 15 December at 15-day intervals and SI of 50 mm either at planting or 30 days after planting) as their determination under actual field conditions is laborious. Simulations for the best combination of planting date and SI suggested that higher crop yield and water productivity can be achieved with planting in November with irrigation applied 30 days after planting.

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