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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Oxford, Mississippi » National Sedimentation Laboratory » Water Quality and Ecology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376358

Research Project: Strategic Investigations to Improve Water Quality and Ecosystem Sustainability in Agricultural Landscapes

Location: Water Quality and Ecology Research

Title: Furrow-Irrigation Application Efficiency in Mid-Southern USA Conservation Tillage Systems

Author
item BRYANT, COREY - University Of Georgia
item Locke, Martin
item KRUTZ, LARRY - Mississippi State University
item REYNOLDS, DANIEL - Mississippi State University
item GOLDEN, BOBBY - Mississippi State University
item IRBY, TRENT - Mississippi State University
item Steinriede, Robert - Wade
item SPENCER, G - Mississippi State University

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/18/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: About 80% of mid-southern USA irrigation requirements are supplied through low efficiency gravity flow delivery systems. Research was conducted to determine whether the efficiency of furrow-irrigation systems could be manipulated through conservation tillage systems, including conventional or reduced tillage / winter fallow, reduced tillage / subsoil, reduced tillage / cover crop, zone tillage / winter fallow or cover crop. These results indicate that transitioning from a conventional tillage system to a conservation tillage system with subsoiling will maximize furrow-irrigation functionality, yield, and profitability while minimizing risk for soybean producers in the mid-southern USA.

Technical Abstract: Approximately 80% of mid-southern USA irrigation requirements are supplied through gravity flow delivery systems with inherently low application efficiency. This research was conducted to determine whether the efficiency of furrow-irrigation systems could be manipulated through conservation tillage systems. Three experiments were conducted near Stoneville, MS on a Dubbs silt loam (Fine-silty, mixed, active, thermic Typic Hapludalfs) to determine the effects of reducing tillage and increasing ground cover residues on irrigation application efficiency and irrigation water use efficiency. In experiment 1, transitioning from conventional tillage to a conservation tillage system had no adverse effect on irrigation application efficiency and irrigation water use efficiency when subsoiling was included. For experiment 2, replacing subsoiling with a cereal rye or tillage radish cover crop in a conservation tillage system either had no effect or reduced irrigation application efficiency and irrigation water use efficiency up to 10%. In experiment 3, independent of cover crop, reducing tillage to only furrow creation had no adverse effect on irrigation application efficiency or irrigation water use efficiency relative to a conservation tillage system with subsoiling. Conservation tillage systems that include subsoiling maximize irrigation application efficiency and irrigation water use efficiency while minimizing adverse effects on yield and net returns relative to conservation tillage systems that further reduce tillage and/or increase ground coverage with cover crops. Our data indicate that soybean producers in the mid-southern USA maximize furrow-irrigation functionality, yield, and profitability while minimizing risk by transitioning from a conventional tillage system to a conservation tillage system with subsoiling.