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Modelling Field Scale Water Partitioning Using On-Site Observations in Sub-Saharan Rainfed Agriculture

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dc.contributor.author Makurira, Hodson
dc.contributor.author Savenije, H. H. G.
dc.contributor.author Uhlenbrook, S.
dc.date.accessioned 2010-11-29T17:48:06Z
dc.date.available 2010-11-29T17:48:06Z
dc.date.issued 2010 en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6593
dc.description.abstract "Smallholder rainfed farming systems generally realise sub-optimal crop yields which are largely attributed to dry spell occurrences during crop growth stages. However, through the introduction of appropriate farming practices, it is possible to substantially increase yield levels even with little and highly variable rainfall. The presented results follow research conducted in the Makanya catchment in northern Tanzania where gross rainfall amounts to less than 400 mm/season which is insufficient to support staple food crops (e.g. maize). The yields from farming system innovations (SIs), which are basically alternative cultivation techniques, are compared against traditional farming practices. The SIs tested in this research are runoff harvesting used in combination with in-field trenches and soil bunds (fanya juus). These SIs aim to reduce soil and nutrient loss from the field and, more importantly, promote in-field infiltration and water retention. Water balance components have been observed in order to study water partitioning processes for the "with" and "without" SI scenarios. Based on rainfall, soil evaporation, transpiration, runoff and soil moisture measurements, a water balance model has been developed to simulate soil moisture variations over the growing season. Simulation results show that, during the field trials, the average productive transpiration flow ranged between 1.1–1.4 mm d−1 in the trial plots compared to 0.7–1.0 mm d−1 under traditional tillage practice. Productive transpiration processes accounted for 23–29% while losses to deep percolation accounted for 33–48% of the available water. The field system has been successfully modelled using the spreadsheet-based water balance 1-D model. Conclusions from the research are that the SIs that were tested are effective in enhancing soil moisture retention at field scale and that diversions allow crop growth moisture conditions to be attained with early rains. From the partitioning analysis, it is also concluded that there is more scope for efficient utilisation of the diverted runoff water if storage structures could be installed to minimise runoff and deep percolation and, hence, regulate water flow to the root zone when required." en_US
dc.language English en_US
dc.subject smallholders en_US
dc.subject crops en_US
dc.subject agriculture en_US
dc.title Modelling Field Scale Water Partitioning Using On-Site Observations in Sub-Saharan Rainfed Agriculture en_US
dc.type Journal Article en_US
dc.type.published published en_US
dc.type.methodology Case Study en_US
dc.coverage.region Africa en_US
dc.coverage.country Tanzania en_US
dc.subject.sector Agriculture en_US
dc.identifier.citationjournal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences en_US
dc.identifier.citationvolume 14 en_US
dc.identifier.citationpages 627-638 en_US
dc.identifier.citationnumber 4 en_US
dc.identifier.citationmonth April en_US

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