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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGING AND MODELING DEFICIT IRRIGATION AND LIMITED RAINFALL FOR CROP PRODUCTION IN SEMI-ARID REGIONS

Location: Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research

Title: Optimal field partitioning for center-pivot irrigated cotton in the Texas High Plains

Authors
item Nair, Shyam -
item Maas, Stephen -
item Wang, Chenggang -
item Mauget, Steven

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 3, 2012
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Citation: Nair, S., Maas, S., Wang, C., Mauget, S.A. 2013. Optimal field partitioning for center-pivot irrigated cotton in the Texas High Plains. Agronomy Journal. 105(1):124-133.

Interpretive Summary: Irrigation from the Ogallala aquifer plays a vital role in cotton production over the semi-arid regions of the Southern High Plains. Many farmers are now experiencing water shortages as some wells are becoming dry and the depth to the aquifer is increasing at many places, leading to lower water availability and higher pumping costs. As a result, developing strategies to optimize the use of available irrigation water is of great importance to cotton producers in this region. This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that the yield and profit from a cotton field can be increased by irrigating only a fraction of the field while keeping the rest un-irrigated when irrigation water is limited. The cotton growth simulation model Cotton2K was used to simulate the lint yield of cotton for different amounts of available irrigation water using historic weather data for the last 110 years in the Texas High Plains. The data generated were used to evaluate different field partitioning strategies at four different amounts of total available irrigation water (5.9 , 8.9, 11.8, and 14.76 inches). The results revealed that irrigating 30%, 45%, 55%, and 70% of the field were the best strategies to maximize both the lint yield and profit under those four total irrigation levels, respectively. The field partitioning strategies had a more pronounced impact on effective lint yield and profit when lower amounts of irrigation water were available and under low rainfall conditions.

Technical Abstract: This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that the yield or profit from a cotton field can be increased by irrigating only a fraction of the field while keeping the rest as dryland when the irrigation water availability is sub-optimal. The cotton growth simulation model Cotton2K was used to simulate the lint yield of cotton for different amounts of available irrigation water using historic weather data for the last 110 years in the Texas High Plains. The data generated were used to evaluate different field partitioning strategies at four different amounts of total available irrigation water (15, 22.5, 30, and 37.5 cm). The results revealed that irrigating 30%, 45%, 55%, and 70% of the field were the best strategies to maximize both the lint yield and profit under 15, 22.5, 30, and 37.5 cm of available irrigation water, respectively. The field partitioning strategies had a more pronounced impact on effective lint yield and profit when lower amounts of irrigation water were available and under low rainfall conditions.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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