Simulation of soil water balance and partitioning of evapotranspiration of maize grown in two growing seasons in Southern Brazil

<div><p>ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to simulate the variation of the available soil water during maize crop growth, in two different sowing times (first and second growing season), using a drip irrigation system. The treatments consisted of different irrigation strategies (full to deficit). The SIMDualKc simulation model was used to determine the daily soil water balance and crop evapotranspiration using the dual crop coefficient approach. Soil, climate, crop and irrigation parameters were used as input data. Two experiments were carried out in a rainout shelter composed of two metallic structures (16x10m) in the city of Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, during 2010/11 (second crop, season 1) and 2011/12 (first crop, season 2) growing seasons, under no-tillage system. The simulations showed that all the irrigation management strategies used in season 2 resulted in soil water deficit, while only two strategies showed deficit in season 1. Results showed good agreement between observed and simulated soil water data, with an R2 ranging from 0.86 to 0.99 and the root mean square error ranging from 2.7 to 5.6% of the total available water for seasons 1 and 2, respectively. The observed results of water balance showed that maize grown in season 2 presented higher water consumption compared to season 1, due to the higher atmospheric demand of season 2. The SIMDualKc model allowed the partitioning of crop evapotranspiration into soil evaporation and crop transpiration, demonstrating that the vegetative growth subperiod presented the greatest differences between the two seasons compared to the others growth phases.</p></div>