Impact of capillary rise and recirculation on crop yields
Joop Kroes1, Iwan Supit1,2, Jos Van Dam3, Paul Van Walsum1, and Martin Mulder11Wageningen University & Research – Environmental Research (Alterra) 2Wageningen University & Research – Chair Water Systems and Global Change 3Wageningen University & Research – Chair Soil Physics and Land Management
Abstract. This paper describes impact analyses of various soil water flow regimes on grass, maize and potato yields in the Dutch delta, with a focus on upward soil water flows capillary rise and recirculation towards the rootzone. Flow regimes are characterised by soil composition and groundwater depth and derived from a national soil database. The intermittent occurrence of upward flow and its influence on crop growth are simulated with the combined SWAP-WOFOST model using various boundary conditions. Case studies and model experiments are used to illustrate impact of upward flow on yield and crop growth. This impact is clearly present in situations with relatively shallow groundwater levels (85 % of the Netherlands), where capillary rise is the main flow source; but also in free-draining situations the impact of upward flow is considerable. In the latter case recirculated percolation water is the flow source. To make this impact explicit we implemented a synthetic modelling option that stops upward flow from reaching the root zone, without inhibiting percolation. Such a hypothetically moisture-stressed situation compared to a natural one in the presence of shallow groundwater shows mean yield reductions for grassland, maize and potatoes of respectively 25, 4 and 15 % or respectively about 3.2, 0.5 and 1.6 ton dry matter per ha. About half of the withheld water behind these yield effects comes from recirculated percolation water as occurs in free drainage conditions and the other half comes from increased upward capillary rise. Soil water and crop growth modelling should consider both capillary rise from groundwater and recirculation of percolation water as this improves the accuracy of yield simulations. This also improves the accuracy of the simulated groundwater recharge: neglecting these processes causes overestimates of 17 % for grassland and 46 % for potatoes, or 70 and 34 mm a−1, respectively.
Kroes, J., Supit, I., Van Dam, J., Van Walsum, P., and Mulder, M.: Impact of capillary rise and recirculation on crop yields, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2017-223, in review, 2017.