Changes in the agronomic management of crops and fruit trees, permanent incorporation of new varieties, variation in the planting density, and different water application systems produce substantial changes in water-production functions. It is advantageous to analyze water requirements under different management conditions, such as irrigation time and frequency associated with soil type, and the effect of irrigation methods on water-production relations since the ultimate goal is to obtain an optimum level of production with a desired quality.
Knowledge of a plant's response to the water applied or retained in the soil as well as the economic and social consequences of water resource availability are vital aspects that must be considered when making a rational decision on optimal use of the increasingly limited water available for irrigation. The concept of a production function and the benefit function lie at the core of irrigation decision making and play a relevant role in optimization and simulation models.
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