ABSTRACT A field experiment was conducted throughout 2009/2010 in a sugarcane field of a commercial distillery located on the coastal area of Paraiba state, Brazil. The objectives were to determine sugarcane water requirements and to test the single and dual crop coefficients by comparing the calculated values of ET with measured ones. Crop evapotranspiration was determined by field water balance, reference evapotranspiration (ETo) by the Penman-Monteith approach, while single and dual crop coefficients were computed through the standard FAO-56 methodology. The experimental area was cultivated with irrigation applied weekly by a centre pivot system in addition to rainfall and the irrigation scheduling was based on 100% ETo. Three statistical tests, mean bias difference (MBD), normalized root mean square difference (NRMSD) and regression analysis, were used to evaluate the performance of single and dual crop coefficients. Results showed that there was a notable symmetry between ET measured and ET calculated by Kc dual. The ET values, calculated from Kc single, underestimated those obtained from soil water balance measurements by 36%.
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