Irrigation has been used for thousands of years to maximize the performance, efficiency and profitability of crops and it is a science that is constantly evolving. This potential for improved crop yields has never been more important as population levels and demand for food continue to grow. Recognising the need for a coherent and accessible review of international irrigation research, Advances in Irrigation Agronomy: Plantation Crops examines the factors influencing water productivity in individual crops. It focuses on nine key plantation/industrial crops on which millions of people in the tropics and subtropics depend for their livelihoods (banana, cocoa, coconut, coffee, oil palm, rubber, sisal, sugar cane and tea). Linking crop physiology, agronomy and irrigation practices, this is a valuable resource for planners, irrigation engineers, agronomists and producers concerned with the international need to improve water productivity in agriculture in the face of increased pressure on water resources.
6. Oil palm
9. Sugar cane
Mike Carr is Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Water Management at Cranfield University, UK. He has over 45 years of experience in the management and delivery of international research, education, training and consultancy in agriculture and natural resource management. He is former editor of the Cambridge University Press journal Experimental Agriculture.
"Mike Carr is to be congratulated on producing a rigorous but readable assessment of the state of knowledge of the water needs and irrigation agronomy of 10 major plantation crops. He has used his 45 years of experience and knowledge as researcher, tutor and editor to produce a valuable reference book for anyone studying irrigation agronomy or planning to conduct research on plantation crops. For the busy reader he has produced a helpful summary at the end of each section – for those needing more information the conclusions are supported by over 800 references. In a final chapter he summarizes the similarities and differences in water needs and irrigation between the 9 crops. He concludes with a plea for better reporting of research and valuably identifies the gaps in knowledge and where future research is needed."
- Andrew Bennett CMG, President of the Tropical Agriculture Association (TAA), UK
"This excellent book is based on a series of papers published by Prof. Carr in Experimental Agriculture. For each of the nine tropical perennial crops included, there is a summary of its origins, and a general description of its growth and physiology and the process of yield production [...] Subsequent sections in each chapter deal in detail with gas exchange, the impact of drought, crop water requirements and responses to irrigation. A good introduction includes a summary of the different ways of measuring crop water use, and estimating water productivity. In the final chapter the water relations and productivity of the different crops are compared, and future research needs are discussed. The crops covered produce important internationally traded commodities, and this book will be useful to anyone working with these crops, or wishing to understand their future as competition for water supplies increases."
- Hereward Corley
"Mike Carr has produced a book that will bring water to the center of the global debate and strategies for sustainable supply of commodities in response to the projected unprecedented expansion in global demand. The recent upsurge in the leasing of large chunks of land in developing countries by rich countries has little to do with land and a lot to do with water. Therefore, this book has come at the right time, to remind us that when it comes to producing the major agricultural commodities, water is the central factor, but our science and practice with respect to crop-water relations remains a work in progress [...] The book does exceptionally well in emphasizing the importance of linking good scientific research with commercial practices. This is relevant in all agriculture and not just the plantation/industrial crops covered in book. The book will be an important reference for many years to come."
- Nuhu H. Hatibu, CEO of the Kilimo Trust
"A meticulous synthesis of knowledge on irrigation science of plantation crops in the tropics and subtropics of great relevance to future food security and economic growth. It is an essential resource for all stakeholders involved in managing and improving irrigated plantation crops."
- Amir Kassam
"This book makes an excellent contribution to the knowledge that will increasingly be required to help the world's farmers produce much more food and fibre, from less land and with significantly less water. Global food production has to virtually double in the next forty or so years to feed a rapidly growing population. This doubling of production will, however, have to be achieved from farming systems that are not only more productive and profitable, but also more resilient to future stresses – biotic, abiotic and economic – and that have much greater input-use efficiency, particularly water-use efficiency [...] In writing this book Mike Carr has made an excellent contribution to future food security and agricultural productivity by expertly collating, integrating and synthesising the experience and knowledge of not only himself, but also of many other experts from around the world."
- Timothy G. Reeves, University of Melbourne School of Land and Environment, Australia
"[A] marvellous and fascinating book that comprehensively deals with crops we take for granted but that have remained outside mainstream agricultural research [...] The most lovingly crafted chapter is about Tea. In an age of internet 'research' when instant but simple information gratification is but a click away, it is a great pleasure to read the fruits of a lifetime's considered and careful work. I particularly like the black and white plates, which illustrate each chapter in a clean, precise and beautiful way. This book will find its way not just to the book-shelves of irrigation and crop specialists, but into their hands, with well thumbed pages. The book is well structured. The casual reader can surf through the summary sections in each chapter to harvest the key points on physiology and crop development, response to water and a summary of research needs and key issues for now and the future [...] "
- Hugh Turral, formerly of International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
"This book will become a major source of reference for those working on irrigated plantation crops, and it can be thoroughly recommended to readers."
- Agriculture for Development
"An excellent publication both in terms of content and presentation [...] No doubt [it] will be a great help for all those researchers and practitioners involved in improving water use productivity of an important but so far somewhat neglected group of crops."
- Martin Smith, Experimental Agriculture