Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/10/2003
Publication Date: 3/2/2004
Citation: Zhu, H., Lamb, M.C., Butts, C.L., Blankenship, P.D. 2004. Improving peanut yield and grade with surface drip irrigation in undulating topographic fields. Transactions of the ASAE. Paper 032098. Interpretive Summary: Peanut is one of the major cash crops in the southeastern United States. Irrigation at appropriate times is essential to stabilize and insure peanut production to obtain high quality and yield. Surface drip irrigation has increased profits for farmers growing many types of crops. However, little research has been done to use surface drip irrigation in peanut production to increase peanut yield and quality. A surface drip irrigation system was developed and evaluated to irrigate peanuts in two experimental fields containing undulating terrains. Peanut yield, grade and gross revenue from the surface drip irrigated area were significantly higher than the non-irrigated area. This research shows that surface drip irrigation is a feasible and profitable irigation method for peanut growers either renting land, using land for short term operations, or operating on small land tracks to improve peanut yield and quality with a low initial investment.
Technical Abstract: A surface drip irrigation system was developed to irrigate peanuts in two experimental fields, one with very little topographic variation and Greenville fine sandy loam soil, and one with undulating terrain containing 2.4% slope and 282% coefficient of topographic variation and Faceville fine sandy loam soil. Peanut pod yield, kernel size distribution, and total sound mature kernels (TSMK) were evaluated with two peanut varieties, two planting patterns and two drip tape lateral spacings. Test results were compared with the adjacent non-irrigated area planted with the same varieties of peanuts. Soil temperature and volumetric moisture content were measured at different locations to track soil temperature and water movement from drip tapes. The maximum soil temperature in the irrigated area was substantially lower than in the non-irrigated area. About 16 h were required for water to travel 46 cm and then hold the moisture for 14 h before decreasing after either 12.5 mm or 25 mm irrigation was applied. No significant difference (p<0.05) was observed in yields between 0.91-m and 1.82-m drip tape lateral spacings with surface drip irrigation. Peanut yields with surface drip irrigation were 1.43 times the non-irrigated yield. The net yield gain from surface drip irrigation was 10 kg/ha-mm during the two growing seasons. Yields tended to slightly decrease as the land elevation decreased for both irrigated and non-irrigated zones. Compared to the non-irrigated areas, the surface drip irrigation area produced more large kernels than small kernels. The average TSMK in the undulating topographic area was 64.9% and 73.7% for non-irrigated and drip irrigated treatments, respectively. An average gross revenue of 1253 US dollars per ha was realized with no irrigation and 2093 US dollars per ha with surface drip irrigation.