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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #343643

Research Project: Precipitation and Irrigation Management to Optimize Profits from Crop Production

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Assessing wheat yield, Biomass, and water productivity responses to growth stage based irrigation water allocation

Author
item Berhe, Araya - Kansas State University
item Kisekka, Isaya - Kansas State University
item Prasad, P.v. - Kansas State University
item Holman, Jonathon - Kansas State University
item Foster, Anserd - Kansas State University
item Lollato, Romulo - Kansas State University

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2016
Publication Date: 1/1/2017
Citation: Berhe, A.A., Kisekka, I., Prasad, P.V., Holman, J., Foster, A.J., Lollato, R. 2017. Assessing wheat yield, Biomass, and water productivity responses to growth stage based irrigation water allocation. Transactions of the ASABE. 60:107-121.

Interpretive Summary: Water availability from the Ogallala Aquifer for irrigation is decreasing, thus increasing the extent limited irrigation on the Southern High Plains. Increasing irrigated wheat yields is important to the profitability of limited-irrigation cropping systems in the region. Scientists in the ARS led Ogallala Aquifer Program from Kansas State University examined the response of various wheat varieties to limited irrigation. Results indicated that, on average, an irrigation allocation of 4 inches increased wheat yield by 14% to 46% compared to rainfed production. Application of an additional 100 mm of irrigation did not improve wheat yield substantially. Applications at booting and heading resulted in the highest yields. This study demonstrates that limited irrigation targeted at sensitive growth stages could enhance wheat yields and improve water productivity of water-limited cropping systems, and are of interest to farmers.

Technical Abstract: Increasing irrigated wheat yields is important to the overall profitability of limited-irrigation cropping systems in western Kansas. A simulation study was conducted to (1) validate APSIM's (Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator) ability to simulate wheat growth and yield in Kansas, and (2) apply the model to assess the response of wheat yield, biomass, and water productivity to irrigation allocation based on growth stage. The methodology involved combining short-term experimental data, long-term historical weather data (1950-2013), and mechanistic crop growth simulation to determine optimum irrigation management strategies. The model adequately simulated measured soil water in the profile. The goodness-of-fit test between the observed and simulated values for phenology, yield, biomass, and ET of the experimental cultivar in 2008-2009 in our study site agreed well with the 'Batten winter' wheat cultivar in APSIM. Results indicated that, on average, an irrigation allocation of 100 mm increased wheat yield by 14% to 46% compared to rainfed (dryland) production. Application of an additional 100 mm of irrigation did not improve wheat yield substantially (on average less than 0.26 t ha-1). Higher water productivity for grain yield was obtained when irrigation was applied at booting and heading. Overall, irrigation water use efficiency for grain decreased with an increase in irrigation allocation. The highest irrigation water use efficiency was simulated for wheat grown with a limited irrigation allocation of 100 mm applied at booting and heading. This study demonstrates that limited irrigation targeted at sensitive growth stages could enhance wheat yields and improve water productivity of water-limited cropping systems.