Predicting spring wheat yields based on water use-yield production function in a semi-arid climate

  • Funian Zhao Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Beijing 100101, China. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China. Key Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and Disaster Reduction of Gansu Province, Key Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Disaster Reduction of CMA, Lanzhou Institute of Arid Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Lanzhou 730020, China.
  • Runyuan Wang Key Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and Disaster Reduction of Gansu Province, Key Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Disaster Reduction of CMA, Lanzhou Institute of Arid Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Lanzhou 730020, China.
  • Kai Zhang Key Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and Disaster Reduction of Gansu Province, Key Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Disaster Reduction of CMA, Lanzhou Institute of Arid Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Lanzhou 730020, China.
  • Jun Lei Dingxi Meteorological Bureau, Dingxi 743000, China.
  • Qiang Yu University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, College of Resources and Environment, Beijing 100049, China. Northwest A&F University, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China. University of Technology Sydney, School of Life Sciences, Sydney 2007, NSW, Australia.
Keywords: soil water, precipitation, attainable yield, agricultural management, mulching


Grain yield of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) fluctuates greatly in Western Loess Plateau of China due to limited and highly variable precipitation. Farmers in this area need a simple tool to predict spring wheat grain yield and assess yield loss risk efficiently. The objectives of this study were to establish relations between water use and grain yield of spring wheat for predicting actual yield and attainable yield (water limited yield) under conventional management practice and mulching practices. Reference data during 1993-2013 and field experiment conducted from 1987 to 2011 were used to determine water use-yield production function and boundary function for spring wheat. Probability of achieving a given spring wheat grain yield threshold is determined based on available soil water content at sowing plus expected precipitation during growing season. Single linear equation was obtained with slope of 14.6 kg ha-1 mm-1 and x intercept at 126.3 mm for spring wheat water use-yield production function with different wheat varieties under varying climatic patterns. The slopes of the boundary function were 16.2 kg ha-1 mm-1 and 19.1 kg ha-1 mm-1 under conventional management practice and mulching practices, respectively. With increase of available soil water content at sowing, the probability of achieving at least 2000 and 4000 kg ha-1 of spring wheat for actual and attainable yield increased under different agricultural management practices.


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How to Cite
ZhaoF., WangR., ZhangK., LeiJ., & YuQ. (2019). Predicting spring wheat yields based on water use-yield production function in a semi-arid climate. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 17(2), e1201.
Water management