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CORDIS - Résultats de la recherche de l’UE

Soil Hydrology research platform underpinning innovation to manage water scarcity in European and Chinese cropping systems

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - SHui (Soil Hydrology research platform underpinning innovation to manage water scarcity in European and Chinese cropping systems)

Période du rapport: 2021-09-01 au 2022-08-31

Crop yields and food quality need to be maintained, or even increased, in a context of increasing water scarcity (driven by climate change and greater societal demands) without losing or degrading the soil and maintaining water resources and its quality.

The SHui overall objectives are:
a) Benchmark existing, and emerging, cropping practices, in terms of crop yields, economic returns and key ecosystem services (related to soil and water quality) in cereal-based rotations and tree crops.
b) Identify “win-win” interventions over short and long-term periods for both farmers and society in cooperation with different stakeholders. Developing and disseminating best management strategies at different spatial and temporal scales.
c) Determine the impacts of these interventions at larger scales on future crop yields and other agro- ecosystem services by testing two hypotheses:
c.1) In rainfed agriculture, increased resilience to extreme events can be achieved by introducing new technologies that allow heterogeneous management of the landscape.
c.2) In irrigated systems, optimal use of water (including rainfall and recycled water), can increase growers’ net profits and increase support from society.
1- WP1 created, cured and populated a platform of long-term experiments in different cropping systems, including agronomic and hydrological measurements. This has merged the practical expertise of all the partners to determine best management practices (BMPs) and established datasets for the use of models. This open database is available in the SHui data management tool ( ).

2- WP2 has helped to improve, calibrate and validate a suite of simulation models for crops and hydrology at plot/field and regional scales. SHui partners have developed the new version of AquaCrop 6.1. A combination of meta-analysis of conservation agriculture on soil properties in field crops with its effect on water availability for crops using physically based model (Hydrus 1-D) has been used to improve calibration of AquaCrop. This analysis was complemented with the development and validation of an exploratory model coupling hydrologic fluxes and crop model to evaluate the relevance of lateral fluxes of runoff on yield variability in cereals and the evaluation of the implications of management strategies and water retention measures at case studies across EU and China. For tree crops, SHui has concentrated its research in modelling issues in developing a new model, TreeWat ( which is an operational tool to orientate stakeholders to make the best allocation of water under drought conditions to minimize yield losses. It is also complemented with a tool ORUSCAL ( to allow researchers and stakeholders to calibrate RUSLE for multiple combinations of soil protection strategies in orchards.

3- WP3 has carried out a major breakthrough adapting the FAO standard crop model, Aquacrop, for regional simulations, coding and running this model for simulation at European scale. A major item that impulses the use of AquaCrop among the research community is the conversion of AquaCrop in Fortran version in Github:

4- WP4 carried out the task of developing different tools to allow farmers and stakeholders to implement strategies for optimizing use of soil and water resources. As a result, there is now a web-based tool to help to zone a farm for precision agriculture using different type of information, called W4Crop ( This task has also developed a catalogue of Best Management Practices (BMPs) freely available in these links (English Chinese and Spanish An Android based app which allow farmers identification of the BMP best suited to their conditions and a preliminary appraisal of its impact have been also developed and is freely available ( pending of verification for distribution also through Google Play. This WP4 also coordinated the development of other tools: WaterVitis, a DST to predict vine water status; OptCheck to optimize the cost of implementation of gully erosion control structures; and app for determining actual ground cover for agronomic or erosion control and TreeWat..

5- WP5 carried out an in-depth analysis of stakeholders perceptions and needs from focus groups studies, which combined with an analysis of available technologies and different policy instruments resulted in a summarized document to orientate policy makers. ( This analysis was complemented with an analysis of water and carbon footprint, mostly on tree crops, based on a relevant set of farmers interviews, that can provide a deeper insight on the variability of this footprint depending on local farm conditions and management.

6- WP6 was responsible of dissemination of findings as well as providing transversal training to PhD and Master students within SHui but also in many activities to others to be trained in similar topics outside SHui. Among the major outputs of WP6 is the coordination of the communication of scientific results delivered in 66 scientific publications listed here and a significant number of freely available online training material available in This WP also helped to reinforce SHui National partners who have carried out dissemination activities with local stakeholders, some of them in cooperation with groups of the EIP—AGRI.
The advance beyond the state of the art in SHui can be organized in three main blocks:

1-New scientific and technological knowledge in the fields of long-term data availability for research community, improved models and analysis of conservation agriculture practices in cereal-based rotations and tree crops at different spatial scales. Summarized mainly in the sixty-six SHui scientific communications, its major impact will be scientific and social, since the major findings have already been incorporated in the implementation of agricultural and environmental policies in SHui countries.

2- A more practical set of tools, which will have a relevant social (in term of improving use of soil and water resources) and economic (in contributing to development of tools for digital agriculture as well as cost-saving by farmers) impact.

3- This was a cooperation project between Europe and China and it has created a platform for cooperation among the European and Chinese partners, reinforcing previous ties and creating new ones, which has resulted in new cooperation initiatives like, for instance, TUdi project (
Field visit to Nucice (CVUT)
SHui Brokerage Innovation Event in Murcia April 2022
SHui Internal meeting in Brussels July 2022
SHui final meeting for stakeholders round table in Brussels July 2022
SHui Project Board Meeting in Fuzhou April 2019
SHui farmers focus group in Israel Dec 2019
SHui seminar on Soil Management in Beijing October 2019
SHui General Assembly in Murcia April 2022
SHui General Assembly field trip in Murcia April 2022
SHui field day in Czech Republic
SHui final meeting for stakeholders in Brussels July 2022
SHui adapting to COVID-19