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The objective of this project is to develop a context sensitive strategy for managing irrigation and nutrient supply of protected crops with constraints on the quantity and quality of water supply. The economical (quality and quantity of crop yield) and the ecological (contamination risks of water table, nature conservation) factors affecting the strategic decisions will also be considered. Moreover the research of this project will advance our knowledge about plant response to salinity and water stress. These new findings will be combined with new management techniques into developing a Decision Support System for farmers.



Specific Objectives

Increase fresh water use efficiency of protected cultivation Minimise fresh water use

·   To determine environmental impact for selected protected-horticulture crops, for different root media and salt content of available water.

·   To develop irrigation/fertigation recipes for main vegetables under protected conditions based on soil fertility, growth stage and yield-quality targets.

Increase utility of low-qua-lity water

·   To compile/determine yield response to salinity of the major crops.

·   To determine a strategy for climate management with high salinity of irrigation (CO2 injection, shading, humidification), in order to mitigate salinity damage and exploit the potential for better quality with salty root environment.

·   To determine a strategy to minimise salt accumulation rate in a closed-loop irrigation system, in dependence of water and nutrients uptake and of root medium characteristics.

Decrease their reliance on good quality water Strategies to maximise use of lower quality water

·   To determine cost-benefit of possible farm level investments (rain harvesting, drain water recycling, use of wastewater, reverse-osmosis, disposal of residuals), depending on available water resources and type of crops.

·   To determine a strategy for management of water sources of varying quality, under given constraint of input of fresh water and/or of release of residuals.

·   To determine feasibility of cascade combinations of crops of increasing salt-tolerance.

Ensure application of new management

·   A Decision support system that aims to maximise return under given constraints in water, water quality and release of chemicals.

·   To develop a farmers guide and “rules of thumb” translated to all participating languages.

·   Dissemination and short courses for extension specialists.

 INCO-MED :International Cooperation   Contract number : ICA3-1999-00009 - HORTIMED