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Given the pressure on water resources, new irrigation scheduling approaches, not necessarily based on satisfying the full crop water requirement but rather aimed at increasing efficient use of the allocated irrigation water and use of stored ground water are needed. However, irrigation scheduling is among the most complex of crop management problems. In France, there are in general a number of irrigation dates and that number is not known in advance but depends on circumstances. Whether or not to irrigate on a particular day depends on the state of the crop and of the soil, and thus not only on past irrigation decisions, but also on future irrigation decisions i.e. it is necessary to consider the overall irrigation strategy. Furthermore, irrigation requires resources, namely water, equipment and labor, that are often limiting factors and so it is necessary to take that into account.

Using models to analyse and propose irrigation scheduling is not a very new approach. However in most of the reported studies, irrigation scheduling is performed using only biophysical models which do not represent farmer’s behaviour. Actually, simple date and amount of water are tested. An alternative to this biophysical-only-based approach is to integrate a representation of the farmers’ way of thinking and acting. Farmer integrates in its technical action knowledge on the status of its irrigation block, of the availability of water resource and on some anticipatory events.

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