Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OPTIMIZING IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT FOR HUMID CLIMATES

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Rice production with center pivot irrigation

Authors
item Vories, Earl
item Stevens, William -
item Tacker, Phil -
item Griffin, Terry -
item Counce, Paul -

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 2, 2012
Publication Date: February 15, 2013
Citation: Vories, E.D., Stevens, W.E., Tacker, P., Griffin, T.W., Counce, P.A. 2013. Rice production with center pivot irrigation. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 29(1):51-60.

Interpretive Summary: Center pivot irrigation of rice is a way to reduce water use in some cases and bring rice into the crop rotation in other situations. Rice was produced at the University of Missouri Delta Research Center Marsh Farm at Portageville in 2009 and 2010. An experimental crop coefficient function was developed and included in a version of the Arkansas Irrigation Scheduler (AIS) and used with weather data collected on site to estimate daily water use. In 2010, weather conditions were warmer and much drier, more irrigation water was applied, and grain yields were lower. The next phase of the project will use the AIS to schedule irrigations, which will indicate whether the current crop coefficient is adequate and allow producers a system for scheduling center pivot irrigation on rice. Producers will benefit from this research by being able to produce rice on soils not well suited to current practices, either by saving water or by adding another crop to the rotation. Everyone will benefit from water savings and consumers will benefit from additional production of rice, one of the most important food crops worldwide.

Technical Abstract: While continuous-flood irrigation, the most common method for U.S. rice production, can have a fairly high irrigation application efficiency, factors such as soil variability and the size of most Mid-South farming operations often combine to reduce the efficiency. Center pivot irrigation is a way to reduce irrigation water use in some cases and allow rice in the crop rotation in other situations when flooding is not practical. Rice was produced at the University of Missouri Fisher Delta Research Center Marsh Farm at Portageville in 2009 and 2010 and irrigated every other day with a 150-mlong center pivot irrigation system. An experimental crop coefficient function was developed and included in a beta version of the Arkansas Irrigation Scheduler (AIS). It was used with daily short grass reference evapotranspiration (ETo) calculated from weather data collected on site to estimate the daily soil water deficit (SWD). Weather conditions were warmer and much drier in 2010 and ETo was higher each month. In 2009, there were totals of 34 days with irrigation and 414 mm of water applied. In 2010, there were totals of 45 days with irrigation and 503 mm of irrigation water applied. In 2009, the cultivar Templeton had the highest observed grain yield (8.31 Mg ha-1) and irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE; 2.0 kg m-3). In 2010, the cultivar Francis had the highest observed grain yield (8.2 Mg ha-1) and IWUE (1.6 kg m-3). In addition to the higher temperatures in 2010, yields were probably impacted by the fact that rice was produced in the field the two previous years. Future research will use the beta version of the AIS to schedule irrigations, which should indicate whether the crop coefficient is adequate and allow producers a system for scheduling center pivot irrigation on rice.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014