Water productivity and economic analyses for super high density olive orchards
In this work we address the importance of economic analysis to evaluate the impact of irrigation decisions on the profitability of hedgerow olive orchards with high tree densities. It is illustrated with a case study on a mature hedgerow olive orchard with 1667 Arbequina trees ha‑1 and two irrigation treatments, full irrigation (FI) and a regulated deficit irrigation strategy aimed to supply 45% of the irrigation needs (45RDI). The crop water productivity, defined as the ratio between the amount of olive oil produced and the total water use for crop production (TWU) is a suitable indicator to assess the biophysical water productivity. For assessing the impact of irrigation decisions on the orchard profitability, the farmer could assess the profit, calculated as the yield market value minus the sum of the variable, fixed and opportunity costs. For choosing among options yielding similar profits, the economic irrigation water productivity (EWPI), defined as the ratio between the profit and TWU, is a suitable indicator. Our findings show that FI could the most profitable option for areas where water is not a limiting or where the water price is low, whereas 45RDI could be a suitable option when the available water is not enough, or too expensive, for FI.
Fernández, J.E., Alcon, F., Diaz-Espejo, A., Hernandez-Santana, V. and Cuevas, M.V. (2022). Water productivity and economic analyses for super high density olive orchards. Acta Hortic. 1335, 395-402
water use efficiency, profit, profitability, hedgerow orchard, economic analysis