We provide field research and modelling expertise to investigate crop water use at the plant through to farm-scale. This is based on our understanding of land use, crop management, soil science and crop physiology.

We have a long history of field experimentation investigating the effects of environmental factors on crop water use and water use efficiency such as:

  • Soil type,
  • Irrigation
  • Crop management, including agro-chemicals, genotypes, nutrients and sowing dates

Our experts use crop modelling to explain and predict the impact of these factors on crop water use.

Crop Modelling

Modelling enables us to understand the potential to reduce water usage without affecting yields. We can model the effects of specific interventions such as a change in irrigation method from sprinkler to drip systems. By doing this we can understand which interventions will be most effective at maximising water use without negatively impacting yields.

Summer rainfall in the UK is highly variable. Irrigation scheduling based on average conditions in past years isn’t the best way to plan. Irrigation must be based on real-time information. We use the ADAS IRRIGUIDE model to calculate runoff, evaporation, transpiration and drainage on a daily basis using field-level information on soil type, cropping, irrigation, and daily weather data.

What we can offer

We can offer field experimentation on sites across the UK under different water regimes. This includes rainout shelters to simulate periods of drought and irrigation including trickle and boom irrigation.

We can evaluate not only crop water use, but the physiological effect of different crop management techniques on crop water use efficiency and crop rooting.

At a field and catchment scale, we are able to model the effects of different crop management factors on crop water use .

Contact Prof. Roger Sylvester-Bradley if you would like more information.

Meet the team