Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 6, 2003
Publication Date: November 6, 2003
Citation: Hatfield, J.L., Sauer, T.J., Prueger, J.H. 2003. Do higher residue systems make more efficient use of water? [CD-ROM] American Society of Agronomy Meetings. Madison, WI.
Water use efficiency in cropping systems is the use of the amount of water transpired by the crop relative to the amount of biomass or grain produced. The greater the amount of crop material produced for a given amount of soil water used, the higher the biomass. The concept of water use efficiency has been used to gauge the effectiveness of irrigation management or cropping systems in semi-arid agriculture; however, the concept has more universal application. Total water use by a cropping system consists of two components: soil water evaporation and crop transpiration. Changing the soil surface by adding residue reduces the soil water evaporation rate and can potentially lead to more water available for transpiration. The net result should be an increase in water use efficiency by cropping systems under residue management. To achieve a higher crop water use efficiency with higher residue requires an integrated approach that includes nutrient management, nutrient placement, crop selection, and understanding that crop yield is not the result of a single factor. Higher residue systems exhibit an overall increase in water use efficiency because of water availability within a season and the long-term impact due to increased soil quality and improved crop performance.