Infoscience

Student project

Evaluation of mulching in drip irrigated areas in semi-arid regions (Burkina Faso) and related hydrogeological context

Info4Dourou2.0 is a research project aiming at improving agricultural yield and water consumption in drip irrigated areas in semi-arid regions by using continuous soil humidity measurements. Within this framework, the main goal of this thesis was to invest whether an improved cultural practice like mulching, combined or not with the Info4Dourou2.0 technology would result in further benefits for the small producers. This thesis consists of two distinct parts. In the first part, the focus was given on the effect of different types of mulching on yield and water consumption and on understanding the mechanisms behind it, as well as its possible impact on disease occurrence. Soil matric potential and soil temperature were continuously monitored to understand the effect of mulch on the upper part of the soil, and plant response was measured in terms of sap flow, growth and yield. Disease risk was measured in term of combined soil temperature and humidity conditions. The second part of this thesis focuses on the hydrogeological context of the experimental sites. In Burkina Faso, surface water is mainly used for drip irrigation; usually the water comes from dams which fill up during the rainy season. At the end of the dry season, water level shrinks and most of the agricultural activities stop due to the lack of water. Furthermore, drip irrigations systems usually do not include a water filter and blockage of the emitters is an important issue. Use of groundwater may therefore be an interesting alternative. In this context, the goal was to check the availability and quality of the groundwater resources in sites where Info4Douro2.0 perform experiments. Water depth, conductivity and temperature were continuously monitored in four different places in Burkina Faso.

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