Submitted to: US Committee on Irrigation and Drainage/Environmental and Water Resources Institute Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 8, 2002
Publication Date: October 15, 2002
Interpretive Summary: Cotton has not been a crop produced on the Northern Texas High Plains of the Southern High Plains, but producers are now looking at this crop as a replacement for higher water using irrigated crops because cotton has a high income potential and lower water requirement. The region is marginal for cotton due to its shorter growing season. This study evaluated cotton production and water use on the Northern Texas High Plains environment. Despite the limited temperatures, acceptable cotton yields were achieved in 2000 and 2001 from 1.8 to 2.4 bales/ac with full irrigation; from 1.2 to 1.7 bales/ac with deficit irrigation; and 0.5 to 0.6 bales/ac with dryland. Water use efficiency was much better with irrigation than dryland. The Food and Agriculture Organization evapotranspiration (ET) estimation methods (FAO-56) performed well, but better for the more fully irrigated treatments. Cotton appears to be a viable alternative irrigated crop for this region.
Technical Abstract: Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) is beginning to be produced on the Northern Texas High Plains as a lower water-requiring crop while producing an acceptable profit. Cotton is a warm season, perennial species produced like an annual, yet it requires a delicate balance of water and water deficit controls to most effectively produce high yields in this thermally limited environment. This study measured the water use of cotton in near-fully irrigated, deficiently irrigated, and dryland regimes in a Northern Texas High Plains environment, which has a shortened cotton producing season, using precision weighing lysimeters in 2000 and 2001. The irrigated regimes were irrigated with a lateral-move sprinkler system. The water use data were used to develop crop coefficient data and compared with the FAO-56 method for estimating crop water use. Cotton yield, water use, and water use efficiency was found to be as good in this region as other more noted cotton regions. FAO-56 ET prediction procedures performed better for the more fully irrigated treatments in this environment.