Crop coefficient, yield response to water stress and water productivity of teff (Eragrostis tef (Zucc.)

A. Araya, L. Stroosnijder, G. Girmay, S.D. Keesstra

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In the semi-arid region of Tigray, Northen Ethiopia a two season experiment was conducted to measure evapotranspiration, estimate yield response to water stress and derive the crop coefficient of teff using the single crop coefficient approach with simple, locally made lysimeters and field plots. During the experiment we also estimated the water productivity of teff taking into account long-term rainfall probability scenarios and different levels of farmers’ skills. During the experimental seasons (2008 and 2009), the average potential evapotranspiration of teff ranged from 260 to 317 mm. The total seasonal water requirement of teff was found to lower in contrast to the assumptions of regional agronomists that teff water requirement is comparable to that of wheat and barley (375 mm). The average single crop coefficient values (kc) for the initial, mid and late season stages of teff were 0.8–1, 0.95–1.1 and 0.4–0.5, respectively. The seasonal yield response to water stress was 1.04, which indicates that teff exhibits a moderately sensitive and linear response to water stress. The results suggest that teff is likely to give significantly higher grain yield when a nearly optimal water supply is provided. The study showed that, in locations where standard equipment is not affordably available, indicative (rough) crop evapotranspiration values can be obtained by using field plots and employing locally made lysimeters. The difference in economic water productivity (EWP) and the crop water productivity (CWP) for teff were assessed under very wet, wet, normal, dry and very dry scenarios. In addition two groups of farmers were evaluated, a moderately (I) and a highly skilled (II) group. The results showed that higher EWP and CWP were obtained under very wet scenario than very dry scenario. There was also a 22% increase in EWP and CWP under group II compared to group I farmers. The increase was due to a 22% reduction in unwanted water losses achieved through use of improved technology and better irrigation skills. Both EWP and CWP can be used to evaluate the pond irrigation water productivity (IWP) for a given climate, crop and soil type, and skill and technology level of the farmer. For special crops like teff extra criteria may be needed in order to properly evaluate the pond irrigation water productivity. During the experimental seasons, a high IWP for teff was attained when about 90% of the optimal water need of the crop was met. IWP can be used as an indicator as how much supplementary irrigation has to be applied in relation to the rainfall and other sources of water supply in order to assure greatest yield from a total area. However, the supplemental irrigation requirement of the crops may vary with season due to seasonal rainfall variability
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-783
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • use efficiency
  • winter-wheat
  • supplemental irrigation
  • evapotranspiration
  • maize
  • agriculture
  • evaporation
  • trotter


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