Improving yields means improving water efficiency.

How use water most efficiently? There is a term: Water Use Efficiency, WUE. It can be expressed in different ways. For cereals the unit kg grain per cubic meter water is most natural.

There seems to have been a divide between disciplines. Water scientists have little considered agronomics. But now some reports stress what seems self-evident: good yields give favourable WUE. WUE is low if the yield is restricted by nutrient deficiency or bad stands.


A couple of examples from reference 1 about work in Syria: WUE without irrigation and fertilizer was 0,6 kg per cubic meter and was raised to 1.0 with 50 kg nitrogen. With irrigation nitrogen raised WUE from 0.9 to 2.3.

Good yields utilize water better.

But excess use or fertilizers is harmful in all respects. Adaptation according to requirements is an important development goal.



  1. Katerji et al 2008. Water efficiency of crops … Eur. J. Agronomy 28, 493-507
  2. Fan et al 2005. Long term fertilization effects on grain yield, water use efficiency .. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 108, 313-329.




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