Water Use Efficiency
Water use efficiency is a quantitative measurement of how much biomass or yield is produced over a growing season, normalised with the amount of water used up in the process. Besides absolute yield, water use efficiency is an important agronomic factor, especially in agricultural irrigation systems and in climate areas where a limited amount of water from the rainy season has to last for the whole growth period as no further rainfall can be expected.
Monitoring of water use by weighing and refilling to a defined degree of soil humidity is the key element to establish reproducible data for assessing water use efficiency, especially when combining such data with non-destructive, image-based plant biomass data obtained with LemnaTec scanalyzer3D systems.
Measurement of water use efficiency using LemnaTec watering stations
The most common method to measure the water use efficiency of individual plants or microplots is to weigh each pot or container on a regular basis and maintain full control over any water addition. In the classical approach, biomass or yield is measured once at the end of the test series, in a destructive way, by harvesting the pot or plot. The LemnaTec scanalyzer3D conveyor systems with their combination of weighing, completely controlled, individual watering and image-based plant phenotyping allow the quantification of a complementary dataset for water use and biomass development, which can be performed non-destructively several times a week. This provides a much deeper insight into the dynamics of water use efficiency over the entire growth period, which is also crucial in developing a better understanding of drought tolerance or drought resistance.