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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT FOR IRRIGATED AGRICULTURE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Title: Effect of irrigation amounts applied with subsurface drip irrigation on corn evapotranspiration, yield, water use efficiency, and dry matter production in a semiarid climate

Authors
item Payero, Jose - QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT
item Tarkalson, David
item Irmak, Suat - UNIV OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN
item Davison, Don - UNIV OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN
item Petersen, James - UNIV OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN

Submitted to: Agricultural Water Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 27, 2008
Publication Date: August 1, 2008
Citation: Payero, J.O., Tarkalson, D.D., Irmak, S., Davison, D., Petersen, J.L. 2008. Effect of irrigation amounts applied with subsurface drip irrigation on corn evapotranspiration, yield, water use efficiency, and dry matter production in a semiarid climate. Agricultural Water Management. 95:895-908.

Interpretive Summary: Quantifying the local crop response to irrigation is important for establishing adequate irrigation management strategies. This study evaluated the effect of irrigation applied with subsurface drip irrigation on field corn evapotranspiration, yield, water use efficiencies, and dry matter production in the semiarid climate of west central Nebraska. Good relationships were obtained between crop performance indicators and seasonal evapotranspiration, and these relationships demonstrate that accurate estimates of evapotranspiration on a daily and seasonal basis can be valuable for making tactical in-season irrigation management decisions and for strategic irrigation planning and management.

Technical Abstract: Quantifying the local crop response to irrigation is important for establishing adequate irrigation management strategies. This study evaluated the effect of irrigation applied with subsurface drip irrigation on field corn (Zea mays L.) evapotranspiration (ETc), yield, water use efficiencies (WUE = yield/ETc, and IWUE = yield/irrigation), and dry matter production in the semiarid climate of west central Nebraska. Eight treatments were imposed with irrigation amounts ranging from 53 to 356 mm in 2005 and from 22 to 226mm in 2006. A soil water balance approach (based on FAO-56) was used to estimate daily soil water and ETc. Treatments resulted in seasonal ETc of 580–663 mm and 466–656mm in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Yields among treatments differed by as much as 22% in 2005 and 52% in 2006. In both seasons, irrigation significantly affected yields, which increased with irrigation up to a point where irrigation became excessive. Distinct relationships were obtained each season. Yields increased linearly with seasonal ETc (R2 = 0.89) and ETc/ETp (R2 = 0.87) (ETp = ETc with no water stress). The yield response factor (ky), which indicates the relative reduction in yield to relative reduction in ETc, averaged 1.58 over the two seasons. WUE increased non-linearly with seasonal ETc and with yield. WUE was more sensitive to irrigation during the drier 2006 season, compared with 2005. Both seasons, IWUE decreased sharply with irrigation. Irrigation significantly affected dry matter production and partitioning into the different plant components (grain, cob, and stover). On average, the grain accounted for the majority of the above-ground plant dry mass (approximately 59%), followed by the stover (approximately 33%) and the cob (approximately 8%). The dry mass of the plant and that of each plant component tended to increase with seasonal ETc. The good relationships obtained in the study between crop performance indicators and seasonal ETc demonstrate that accurate estimates of Etc on a daily and seasonal basis can be valuable for making tactical in-season irrigation management decisions and for strategic irrigation planning and management.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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