IRTA (the Agri-Food and Technology Research Institute part of the Agricultural Department of the Catalan Government) and the University of California Davis are jointly organizing the first edition of the one-week IRTA-UC Davis International Course on Irrigation, which will take place in Europe.


The objective of the course is to provide the elements required to operate an irrigation system so that the efficiency of plant water use and the efficacy of the system in delivering water are maximized. This is a complex problem since crops grow under varied combinations of soil, weather and growing conditions. Guiding principles will be provided on how to deal with these changing environmental factors.

The course is designed to deal in depth with fruit tree species, but most of the principles will also pertain to annual crops.

Attendees and Format

The course is addressed to irrigation managers and highly specialized technicians with irrigation management responsibilities.

Viewed from the perspective of a world with dwindling water supplies, there is currently a great need to make strategic irrigation decisions that take into consideration the underlying principles that control water use at orchard level, and their implications for crop production.

This course brings together a group of highly experienced scientists with extensive careers in the field of fruit-tree growing and irrigation management. The course schedule covers principles of irrigation management not only from a theoretical but also an applied point of view.

The activity will last 5 days and includes five different types of lectures:

  • Short theoretical sessions lasting 30-45 minutes and covering a total of 24 different topics
  • Workshop exercises lasting 60 minutes each and covering a total of 6 different topics
  • Demonstrative laboratory training sessions covering 5 different topics
  • Afternoon field trip
  • Discussion sessions between the instructors and the students at the end of each day


Students enrolled in the course will gain a fundamental understanding of how water moves through the soil, into and through the plant, the critical periods when plant growth and productivity are most affected by the lack of water, and modern irrigation techniques for optimizing the use and delivery of water to meet crop needs. This knowledge is essential for managing irrigation systems in an era of diminishing water resources.

The course will also provide a unique opportunity to interact with and discuss all aspects of orchard irrigation management with scientists and practitioners who have spent the majority of their professional careers dealing with multiple aspects of plant water use and irrigation management in orchards and vineyards.


The course will take place in the lecture rooms of PCiTal, Parc del Gardeny and the IRTA Fruitcentre premises in Lleida (Spain) from 17 to 21 October 2016.

Attendees are recommended to arrive the night before the course begins. Please bear in mind that there are special hotel rates available for participants.

Lleida is a very well-connected, modern city in the heart of Catalonia, with direct train connections from Barcelona and Madrid, a vibrant life and a remarkable relationship with high-end agricultural production.


Please bear in mind that there are special hotel rates available for the participants to the International Course on Irrigation.

In order to make a reservation, you can send an email to one of the following hotels (Hotel NH Pirineos or Hotel Real Lleida), using the reference:

International Course on Irrigation 2016


More information:


This course brings together a group of highly experienced international scientists with extensive careers in the field of fruit-tree growing and irrigation management.

Ken A. Shackel

Ken A. Shackel

Professor Shackel teaches soil/plant/water relations and environmental crop physiology at the University of California Davis, and conducts research on tree and vine responses to water stress and Regulated Deficit Irrigation (RDI) under field conditions, fruit growth, and pre- and post-harvest fruit water relations.

Josep Rufat

Josep Rufat

Josef Rufat is a researcher at IRTA, and part of the Efficient Use of Water Programme. He is specialized in irrigation management and fertilization in plants, mainly in fruit trees, such as peaches, nectarines and apples, and also in olive trees.

Jordi Marsal

Jordi Marsal

Jordi Marsal is the head of the Efficient Use of Water Programme at IRTA. His background includes the evaluation of whole-plant physiological responses to water deficit. Over the last years his research has focused on quantifying such responses to produce a modeling framework that can be used from an irrigation management perspective.

Gerardo López

Gerardo López

Gerardo Lopez is an agricultural engineer from the Public University of Navarra and has a PhD in crop production from the University of Lleida. He is currently a senior researcher at IRTA. His major goal is to understand the effects of water stress on fruit production and the quality of fruit. He has provided valuable information on how to manage fruit trees under drought conditions using agronomic techniques such as fruit thinning, summer pruning, and net shading. He also studies the interaction between water stress and genotypes to facilitate the selection of plants with high water-use efficiency.

Bruce D. Lampinen

Bruce D. Lampinen

Dr Bruce Lampinen is a Specialist in Cooperative Extension in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of California Davis. His research programme focuses on almond-related production issues with an emphasis on irrigation and canopy management. His current and previous research has included work on canopy management in high-density orchards, canopy size impacts on orchard water requirements, the effects of irrigation and nitrogen on spur longevity and productivity in almond, and alternatives to methyl bromide for nursery and orchard replant situations.

Steve Grattan

Steve Grattan

Dr Grattan has been at the University of California Davis for over 30 years. He has a PhD from UC Riverside in Soil Science with a minor in Plant Physiology. His area of research specialization deals with salinity effects on plants at the plant and field scale, the uptake of nutrients, salts and trace elements by plants grown in saline environments, and management with saline water.

Joan Girona

Joan Girona

Joan Girona has been a researcher at IRTA for more than 30 years. His main interests are related to irrigation management under conditions of limited water availability, the seasonal sensitivity of woody species to water deficits, and how to apply these approaches in commercial orchards and vineyards.

Elias Fereres

Elias Fereres

Dr Elias Fereres is Professor of Agronomy at the University of Cordoba and researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, CSIC, in Cordoba, Spain. He is currently the Chief Editor of the Irrigation Science journal.

Ted M. DeJong

Ted M. DeJong

Ted M. DeJong is Professor of Plant Physiology and Cooperative Extension Pomologist at the University of California Davis Department of Plant Sciences. His areas of expertise include tree crop physiology, crop modelling, management of fruit tree crops, carbon partitioning, peach rootstock development and dried plum breeding. He is specialized in crops and particularly in peaches, nectarines, plums, almonds and prunes.

Jaume Casadesus

Jaume Casadesus

Jaume Casadesus has a PhD in Biology (University of Barcelona, 1995) and Computer Engineering (Open University of Catalonia, 2007). He has worked as a qualified technician at the University of Barcelona (1996-2000) and as a researcher at IRTA (2001-2014). He is specialized in the development of ICT solutions to agricultural and environmental problems. His current research line deals with algorithms for the unmanned interpretation of soil sensor data and its use in automated irrigation scheduling.

Joaquim Bellvert

Joaquim Bellvert

Dr. Joaquim Bellvert is a researcher at IRTA. He is currently doing a Postdoc at University of California, Davis. His research focuses on the remote sensing for improved irrigation water use efficiency and productivity in heterogeneous crops. So as to perform such investigation, he uses high resolution airborne and satellite multispectral and thermal imagery to detect within-field spatial variability in water requirements, and plant water stress.

Course Schedule

(Clic on the image below to open a full-size image of the course schedule)

Cost & payment


The course fee is 2500€* and includes tuition, documentation (syllabus), lunches, coffee breaks, field trips, ground transportation from hotels to the venue, and a graduation dinner.

* VAT 21% must be added for participants of Spanish companies


Payment by bank transfer only to the following account:

IBAN: ES28 2100 0181 280200377198

Please remember to state the reference: Irrigation2016 + your name

Finally, please make sure you send a copy of the wire transfer receipt to in order to confirm your registration.

Any bank expenses will be charged to the student.
Payments must be received before the beginning of the course.

Cancellation policy

In the event of cancellation by a participant the fees paid to participate in the course will be refunded in accordance with the following terms:

• Cancellations received up to (and including) 10 days prior to the event (7 October 2016) will be refunded in full
• For cancellations received less than 10 days before the event there will be no refund

(In exceptional circumstances other refund arrangements may be considered)


Attendees who complete the course will receive a certificate of attendance issued by the course organizers.