Assessing the Transferability of Transpiration-use Efficiency Models of Biomass Production
Transpiration-use efficiency (w), defined as the ratio of biomass produced per unit water transpired, has been used to evaluate crop performance under limited water supply. However, the lack of consistency of w values through different environmental conditions has not allowed, using it as a transferable parameter. Thus, simple approaches have been developed, including: 1) w = kDa Da¹ and; 2) w = kEto ETo-¹ where kDa and kETo are crop-dependent parameters, with the underlying concept that normalization by Da or ET0 would accounts for the effects of climate variations on w, while these parameters would be reasonably constant across diverse environments. The objective of this study was to assess the transferability of kDa and kET^0 for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and maize (Zea mays L.). The scarcity of experimental information and discrepancy of the methodology used, justified the use of a canopy transpiration and photosynthesis model which was developed, tested, and fitted with weather data from eight environmentally different locations to simulate values of w, kDa and kETOo. The results indicated that kDa and kET0 were more variable than expected; suggesting that calibration would be desirable. A consistent trend of change of the parameter values as function of Da or ET0 was found, which can be represented by mathematical functions, allowing transferring w, kDa and kET0 (maize). In contrast, the kETOo for wheat correlated weakly with Da and ET0, but a low overall coefficient of variation (10%) allowed using an average value as a reasonable predictor of w.