Rainfall and its distribution influences on rain-fed saffron yield and economic analysis

  • Maryam Dastranj
  • Ali Reza SepaskhahEmail author
  • Ali Akbar Kamgar-Haghighi
Original Paper


Spatial and temporal variability of precipitation events and rainfall depth are the major uncontrolled inputs in planting rain-fed crops and the prediction of their annual yield. Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is a strategic crop in Iran and due to its low water requirement and high income is considered in sustainable agricultural strategies. This study was carried out using a dataset from an 8-year rain-fed saffron experiment conducted in Bajgah region (Fars province), Iran. The objective was to determine the effects of annual rainfall, its distribution, and air temperature on saffron yield, and to determine the critical rainfall periods for rain-fed saffron yield. Also, economic analysis was considered for the saffron yield in the study region. Results showed that saffron yield cannot be predicted with adequate accuracy by the annual rainfall. Instead, fall and winter seasonal indices and annual index can be used to predict the rain-fed saffron yield when combined with saffron age and mean maximum daily air temperature in the given season. Results also indicated that rain-fed saffron yield is reversely related to the maximum daily air temperature in winter since warm winter causes the leaves to wither earlier and shortens the vegetative growth period. Internal rates of return for interest rates of 4, 8, and 12% were 30.9, 56.7, and 95.9% respectively which is economically feasible for rain-fed saffron production in the study area.


Funding information

This research was supported in part by a research project funded by Grant no. 97-GR-AGR 42 of Shiraz University Research Council, Drought National Research Institute, the Center of Excellence for On-Farm Water Management, and Iran National Science Foundation (INSF).


  1. Ajayi IR, Afolabi MO, Ogunbodede EF, Sunday AG (2010) Modeling rainfall as a constraining factor for cocoa yield in Ondo State. Am J Sci Ind Res 1(2):127–134Google Scholar
  2. Alizadeh A, Sayari N, Ahmadian J, Mohamadian A (2009) Study for zoning the most appropriate time of irrigation of saffron (Crocus sativus) in Khorasan Razavi, North and Southern provinces. J Water Soil 23:109–118 (In Persian with English Summary)Google Scholar
  3. Azizian A, Sepaskhah AR (2014) Maize response to different water, salinity and nitrogen levels: agronomic behavior. Int J Plant Prod 8(1):107–130Google Scholar
  4. Azizi-Zohan AA, Kamgar-Haghighi AA, Sepaskhah AR (2009) Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) production as influenced by rainfall, irrigation method and intervals. Arch Agron Soil Sci 55:547–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bagheri E, Sepaskhah AR (2014) Rain-fed fig yield as affected by rainfall distribution. Theor Appl Climatol 117(3–4):433–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Basso B, Fiorentino C, Cammarano D, Cafiero G, Dardanelli J (2012) Analysis of rainfall distribution on spatial and temporal patterns of wheat yield in Mediterranean environment. Eur J Agron 41:52–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Behdani MA, Al-Ahmadi MJ, Fallahi HR (2016) Biomass partitioning during the life cycle of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) using regression models. J Crop Sci Biotechnol 19(1):71–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fallahi HR, Paravar A, Behdani MA, Aghhavani-Shajari M, Fallahi MJ (2014) Effects of saffron corm and leaf extracts on early growth of some plants to investigate the possibility of using them as associated crop. Notulae Sci Biol 6(3):282Google Scholar
  9. Gangopadhyaya M, Sarker RP (1965) Influence of rainfall distribution on the yield of wheat crop. Agric Meteorol 2(5):331–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gresta F, Lombardo GM, Siracusa L, Ruberto G (2008) Saffron, an alternative crop for sustainable agricultural systems. A review. Agron Sustain Dev 28(1):95–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Khazaei M, Monfared M, Kamgar Haghighi AA, Sepaskhah AR (2013) The trend of change for weight and number of saffron corms as affected by irrigation frequency and method in different years. J Saf Res 1(1):48–56 (In Persian with English Summary)Google Scholar
  12. Khozaei, M. Kamgar-Haghighi AA. Sepaskhah AR. Karimian NA (2015) Effect of 10-year continuous cultivation on physical and chemical properties of soil. Iran Agric Res 34(1):46–55Google Scholar
  13. Koocheki A, Nassiri M, Behdani MA (2006) Agronomic attributes of saffron yield at agroecosystems scale in Iran. In II International Symposium on Saffron Biology and Technology 739 (pp. 33–40)Google Scholar
  14. Kumar R, Singh V, Devi K, Sharma M, Singh MK, Ahuja PS (2008) State of art of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) agronomy: a comprehensive review. Food Rev Int 25(1):44–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lehane JJ, Staple WJ (1965) Influence of soil texture, depth of soil moisture storage, and rainfall distribution on wheat yields in southwestern Saskatchewan. Can J Soil Sci 45(2):207–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Loague K, Green D (1991) Statistical and graphical methods for evaluating solute transport models: over view and application. J Contam Hydrol 7:15–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Modarres R, da Silva VDPR (2007) Rainfall trends in arid and semi-arid regions of Iran. J Arid Environ 70(2):344–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Molina RV, Valero M, Navarro Y, Guardiola JL, Garcia-Luis A (2005) Temperature effects on flower formation in saffron (Crocus sativus L.). Sci Hortic 103(3):361–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Monfared M (2005) Effect of water stress on the physiologic parameters of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) M.Sc. Thesis, irrigation and drainage. Irrigation Department, Shiraz University (In Persian)Google Scholar
  20. Podlesny J, Podlesna A (2011) Effect of rainfall amount and distribution on growth, development and yields of determinate and indeterminate cultivars of blue lupin. Pol J Agron 4:16–22Google Scholar
  21. Renau-Morata B, Nebauer SG, Sánchez M, Molina RV (2012) Effect of corm size, water stress and cultivation conditions on photosynthesis and biomass partitioning during the vegetative growth of saffron (Crocus sativus L.). Ind Crop Prod 39:40–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Roget DK, Rovira AD (1991) The relationship between incidence of infection by the take-all fungus (Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici), rainfall and yield of wheat in South Australia. Anim Prod Sci 31(4):509–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sadeghi AR, Kamgar-Haghighi AA, Sepaskhah AR, Khalili D, Zand-Parsa S (2002) Regional classification for dryland agriculture in southern Iran. J Arid Environ 50(2):333–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sepaskhah AR, Kamgar-Haghighi AA (2009) Saffron irrigation regime. Int J Plant Prod 3(1):1–16Google Scholar
  25. Sepaskhah AR, Malek E (1985) Synthesis of rainfall intensity-frequency regime of Iran. Iran Agric Res 4:99–107Google Scholar
  26. Sepaskhah AR, Honar T, Rezaee AR (2003) Effects of rainfall distribution on the dryland wheat yield with an economic analysis in southern provinces of I R Iran. Iran Agric Res 22:89–104Google Scholar
  27. Shirmohammadi Z (2002) Using crop water stress indice to determine crop water stress and irrigation scheduling of saffron M.Sc. Thesis, irrigation and drainage. Irrigation Department, Shiraz University, 168p, (In Persian)Google Scholar
  28. Willmott CJ (1981) On the validation of models. Phys Geogr 2:184–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryam Dastranj
    • 1
  • Ali Reza Sepaskhah
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ali Akbar Kamgar-Haghighi
    • 1
  1. 1.Irrigation DepartmentShiraz UniversityShirazI.R. of Iran
  2. 2.Drought Research CenterShiraz UniversityShirazI.R. of Iran

Personalised recommendations