Publication Abstracts

Jones et al. 2013

Jones, M.R., A. Singels, and A. Ruane, 2013: Simulated impacts of climate change on water use and yield of irrigated sugarcane in South Africa. Proc. S. African Sugar Technol. Assoc., 86, 184-189.

Reliable predictions of climate change impacts on water use, irrigation requirements and yields of irrigated sugarcane are necessary to plan adaptation strategies. The objective of this study was to evaluate a methodology for this by using the DSSAT-Canegro sugarcane model to simulate growth and development of sugarcane crops under typical management conditions at Malelane, Pongola and La Mercy for current ('baseline', 1980-2010) and future (2070-2100) climate scenarios. Future climate datasets were generated from three Global Climate Models (GCMs) assuming atmospheric CO2 concentration [CO2] of 734 ppm. GCM choice was based on the range of uncertainty of projected future rainfall at La Mercy (-11, +3 and +14%). The study found that irrigated yields are expected to increase at all three sites (15% at La Mercy, 10% at Pongola and 7% at Malelane), due to (i) increased interception of radiation due to accelerated canopy development and (ii) the direct [CO2] fertilisation effect on photosynthesis. Evapotranspiration increased by 6% due to increased canopy cover and evaporative demand, while irrigation requirements increased by ≃12%. Irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE, the increase in yield per unit irrigation applied) decreased by 6%, 11% and 12% at La Mercy, Pongola and Malelane, respectively. These results suggest that, at all sites, (i) economic returns on investment in irrigation could decline because of reduced IWUE; and (ii) increased irrigation capacity will be needed to achieve the increased yield potential of future irrigated sugarcane. For future climate impact studies it is recommended that high-temperature sensitivity of model processes be investigated further, and alternative GCM downscaling methods, which allow perturbations to the distribution (as well as amount) of rainfall, be explored.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Jones, M. R. and Singels, A. and Ruane, A.},
  title={Simulated impacts of climate change on water use and yield of irrigated sugarcane in South Africa},
  journal={Proc. S. African Sugar Technol. Assoc.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - jo08100s
AU  - Jones, M. R.
AU  - Singels, A.
AU  - Ruane, A.
PY  - 2013
TI  - Simulated impacts of climate change on water use and yield of irrigated sugarcane in South Africa
JA  - Proc. S. African Sugar Technol. Assoc.
VL  - 86
SP  - 184
EP  - 189
ER  -

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