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Revista Ciencias Técnicas Agropecuarias

versión On-line ISSN 2071-0054

Rev Cie Téc Agr vol.26 no.1 San José de las Lajas ene.-mar. 2017


Revista Ciencias Técnicas Agropecuarias, 26(1): 71-77, 2017, ISSN: 2071-0054




Water Use for Bean Irrigation on Eutric Cambisol Soils


Uso del agua durante el riego del frijol en suelos Eutric cambisol



Dr.C. Omar González Cueto,I Ing. Berenice Abreu Ceballo,II Dr.C. Miguel Herrera Suárez,III Dr.C. Elvis López Bravo,I

IUniversidad Central “Marta Abreu” de las Villas, Departamento de Ingeniería Agrícola, Santa Clara, VC, Cuba.
IIEmpresa Agropecuaria “Valle del Yabú”, Santa Clara, VC, Cuba.
IIIUniversidad Técnica de Manabí, Facultad de Ing. Agrícola, Portoviejo, Manabí, Ecuador.




This research was conducted with the objective of evaluating the irrigation performance of bean crops in Eutric Cambisol soil conditions. The main parameters related to irrigation scheduling were determined. The water application for the crop and the behavior of climatic variables during the execution of the work were obtained. The results showed that the needs of crop water are satisfied with 14 irrigations, with a total irrigation of 2 517,72 m3 ha-1,which is very similar to that proposed by several authors for crop beans. However, farmers performed 11 irrigations applying a total net irrigation of 4 843, 3 m3 ha-1 consuming 762,4 m3 more of water to produce a ton of bean than the necessary, applying the planning irrigation proposed in this paper. Total net irrigation applied is far superior from obtained by the crop water needs, which brings about low efficiency in water use.

Key words: water requirements; water balance; irrigation scheduling; water productivity.


El presente trabajo se realizó con el objetivo de evaluar la realización del riego en cultivo del frijol en las condiciones de suelos Eutric Cambisol. Se determinaron los principales parámetros relacionados con la programación del riego y se obtuvo la aplicación de agua realizada al cultivo y el comportamiento de las variables climatológicas durante la realización de los trabajos. Los resultados mostraron que las necesidades hídricas del cultivo se satisfacen aplicando 14 riegos, con una norma total neta a aplicar de 2 517,72 m3 ha-1 la cual es muy similar a la propuesta por varios autores para el cultivo del frijol. Sin embargo, la unidad de producción realizó 11 riegos aplicando una norma total neta de 4 843,3 m3 ha-1 provocando un consumo de 762,4 m3 de agua más para la producción de una tonelada de frijol que la necesaria aplicando la planificación del riego propuesta en este trabajo. La norma total neta aplicada es muy superior a la obtenida por las necesidades hídricas del cultivo lo cual provoca poca eficiencia en el uso del agua.

Palabras clave: necesidades hídricas; balance de agua; programación del riego; productividad del agua.




Common bean is the most widely consumed legume in the world. Currently, about 18 million tons are produced annually, in such diverse environments as Latin America, North and Central Africa, China, USA, Europe and Canada. Within these, Latin America is the largest producer and consumer, led by Brazil, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In Cuba it has been given in recent years much attention, achieving in 2013 a harvested area of 119,775 ha, with a production of 129 800 t and agricultural yield of 1.08 t / ha (ONEI, 2014). Bean is considered the second source of protein in eastern and southern Africa and the fourth in tropical America. In Cuba rainfall during the dry period of the year are not sufficient for proper development of most crops, for that reason irrigation is necessary. This period coincides with the complete cycles of many crops such as potato, tobacco and vegetables. The dry period is chosen for the development of crops that are affected by excessive moisture in the soil, such as bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).

Irrigation is indispensable to achieve high yields and improve grain quality. Legumes are sensitive to both, deficit and excess of water. The most sensitive crop stages to water deficit are the vegetative growth, flowering and pod filling.

Irrigation systems with low cost, reliable and efficient in water use are essential to achieve the food production necessary for a sustainable agriculture and to contribute to policies for the conservation of water resources and reducing greenhouse gases. The use of irrigation systems from a sustainable point of view, should consider both environmental and economic criteria (Daccache et al., 2014; Tarjuelo et al., 2015).

In agricultural production systems, water productivity is a decisive factor for sustainability. González et al. (2014) define water productivity as the relationship between physical or economic yield per unit of water consumed by the crop. This indicator is used to develop strategies for managing water resources that contribute to more rational use of this natural resource. Several authors have identified this indicator as an element of judgment to analyze the efficiency of water supplied to crops, either as a result of irrigation strategies implementation or as an outcome measure from different irrigation methods used (Oweis y Hachum, 2006; Geerts y Dirk, 2009; Sadras, 2009; Ahmadi et al., 2010; Patanè et al., 2011; González et al., 2014)

For efficient crops irrigation it is necessary that the farmer knows the crop evapotranspiration, and performs an irrigation schedule that defines each irrigation amount and timing depending on the plant needs; also to know and take control of the main factors involved in the water application depending on irrigation system used and ensure that facilities are well designed, managed and preserved (Santos et al., 2010)

In Cuba, the farm “Jesús Menendez” produces beans in areas with center pivot irrigation systems. This farm is placed in over soil Eutric Cambisol, with characteristics of deep soil with an average plasticity, making it difficult to drain causing waterlogging, so that excessive irrigation can be sufficient to damage the bean crop. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the efficiency of irrigation in bean crop “Velasco Largo”, in the conditions of the farm “Jesus Menendez”.



The research was carried out from January to March 2015. For irrigation a center pivot machine “Western” was used. Climatic variables such as minimum, average and maximum temperature, reference evapotranspiration and rainy were obtained from an agro-meteorological station nearby the experimental field. The water quality used meets the no limitation standards for irrigation.

Determination of crop water needs was obtained by known methods of Allen et al. (2006). Field capacity and wilting point were obtained as described by Pacheco et al. (2006). Crop coefficient and crop evapotranspiration, the total water available and easily usable water were obtained according to Allen et al. (2006). Water productivity was also determined using the procedures described by González et al. (2010)



A daily analysis of major climatic variables according to data taken from the agro-meteorological station was made. Figure 1 shows the minimum, maximum and mean temperatures by each ten days, during the crop cycle. The mean temperature behaved about 23 and 24 °C as average throughout the campaign. Within 40 to 50 days, it reached values of 19 °C, very favorable for crop because the beans planted between months of October and January need cool temperatures to obtain good yields.

Regarding rain, as shown in Figure 2, during the months of January to March, it is highlighted that they were very low except betwen 10 to 20 days of the crop, raining a total of 8,83 mm. The values reached by the minimum, mean and maximum temperature plus the prevailing wind, caused the reference evapotranspiration was low for the period (Figure 3), so less irrigation is needed, because the plant transpires less and the sun absorbs less water available in plants.

Crop water needs were obtained taking into account the different phenological phases of beans. Table 1 shows the irrigation planning made to meet the crop water needs throughout the growing season. The crop water needs are met by applying 14 irrigation, with a total irrigation net of 2 517,72 m3 ha-1, which is very similar to that of 2 560 m3 ha-1 mentioned by Herrera et al. (2013) as total net irrigation for beans and close to 3 000 m3 ha-1 proposed by Duarte et al. (2015).

The farm planned 12 irrigation, one every seven days, with a partial net irrigation of 200 m3 ha-1. During crop cycle, this planning was not fulfilled due to rainfall that occurred through January and February and due to application of net partial irrigation far higher than the planned irrigation. Table 2 shows the total irrigation realized and partial irrigations applied during period, which are far superior to those planned by the farm. It was applied a net total irrigation of 4 843, 3 m3 ha-1, higher than the proposal by Duarte et al. (2015) and obtained from the calculations of crop water needs presented in Table 1.

An important factor to consider in the crop irrigation made by the farm is that the soil moisture tension, which allow the determination of plant soil water availability, was not taken into account. Monitoring soil moisture can be used to decide the amount and frequency of water applications, avoiding deep percolation losses and runoff. This is a very simple practice to achieve savings in water usage. Pacheco y Pérez (2010) determined, using tensiometers for potatoe in the same farm, excessive irrigation resulted in reduced efficiency in water use.

If the irrigation scheduled on Table 1 had been applied, according to Figure 4, a better water use would have been reached, because in the 3 ha harvested, 3,28 ton of beans were obtained, reaching an indicator of  0,0013 ton of beans per m3 of water used. However, when analyzing this indicator for the water irrigated, a value of 0,0006 t m3 is obtained. With irrigation scheduled according to water needs only 767,6 m3 of water were required to produce one ton of beans, but with the irrigation done in the farm 1 476,61 m3 of water were used to obtain the same production, demonstrating how much water it was spent without productive results.. Cisneros et al. (2007) shows how the application of crops irrigation in a farm of Mayabeque  province,  almost double crop needs, a fact that does not benefit the availability of water for the future, against the increasingly frequent droughts.

Crop yield was 1 093,33 kg ha-1 and 4 843,3 m3 ha-1 of irrigation water were applied, representing a water productivity of 0,22 kg m-3, which is below the range of 0,6 to 1,91 kg m-3 determined by González et al. (2014) from data of field experiments conducted under different conditions of soil and climate of Cuba. One explanation may be due to low agricultural yield achieved here, which is lower than the one used by these authors (1 600 to 2 980 kg ha-1). However, the main factor that causes this low water productivity is the excess of water application. If the needs of crop water had been satisfied from irrigation scheduled (Table 1), water productivity had risen to 0.43, still lower than reported. But, in this case, it is considered that it is due to low crop yields since total net irrigation calculated is less than the one referred by González et al. (2014).

Lopez et al. (2011) consider that low efficiency in the irrigation systems is one of the most acute problems affecting areas under irrigation in Cuba. These authors obtained for beans, a maximum value of water productivity of 0,93 kg m-3 using 3 140 m3 ha-1 of water. Consumption higher than the previous reference value caused a decrease in water productivity and from an environmental point of view it is detrimental because surface runoff, dragging chemicals into aquifers and soil salinity are increased. Climate changes and increasingly frequent droughts promote the efficient water use and its utilzacion for irrigation so as highest water productivities will be obtained (Cisneros, 2011).



The research showed that crop water needs are met by applying 14 crop irrigations with a total net irrigation of 2 517, 72 m3 ha-1 which is very similar to that proposed by other authors for bean cultivation. However, the farm performed 11 irrigation applying a total net irrigation of 4 843,3 m3 ha-1 using 709,0 m3 more of water to produce a ton of bean that irrigation scheduled calculated in this paper. Total net irrigation applied is far superior to that obtained by crop water needs causing low efficiency in water use and water productivity.



*The mention of commercial equipment marks; instruments or specific materials obey identification purposes, not existing any promotional commitment with relationship to them, neither for the authors nor for the editor.



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Received: 10/10/2015
Approved: 14/11/2016



Omar González Cueto, Prof. Universidad Central “Marta Abreu” de las Villas, Departamento de Ingeniería Agrícola, Santa Clara, VC, Cuba. Email:

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