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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #398548

Research Project: Developing Strategies for Resilient and Sustainable Crop, Water, and Soil Management in Semi-Arid Environments

Location: Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research

Title: Stable carbon isotope discrimination of cotton burrs and seeds as a season-long integrator of crop water stress

item Gitz, Dennis
item Baker, Jeffrey
item Lascano, Robert

Submitted to: American Journal of Plant Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/3/2022
Publication Date: 12/29/2022
Citation: Gitz, D.C., Baker, J.T., Lascano, R.J. 2022. Stable carbon isotope discrimination of cotton burrs and seeds as a season-long integrator of crop water stress. American Journal of Plant Sciences. 13. Article 12.

Interpretive Summary: In the Texas High Plains (THP), irrigation water drawn from the Ogallala aquifer continues to be depleted. New irrigation scheduling methods and new water efficient plants need to be developed to maintain regional agricultural productivity. Scientists from the Wind Erosion and Water Conservation unit at the Cropping Systems Research Laboratory in Lubbock, Texas, investigated how to more accurately, more easily, and more inexpensively assess crop water stress resulting from various irrigation scheduling methods, and potentially how to more accurately identify water use efficient germplasm for cotton breeding programs using a simple chemical method. It was found that sampling at cotton-seed at harvest was a more accurate and less expensive way to determine these characteristics than the traditional method of repeatedly sampling leaf materials throughout the season.

Technical Abstract: Plant based irrigation management schemes typically use surrogates such as canopy temperature, alone, or in conjunction with environmental variables, to infer the degree of “crop stress” (biological strain) induced by drought. Few systematic studies of the relationship between “crop stress”, as defined by such surrogates, and physiological estimates of water use efficiency (WUE) exist over both daily and seasonal time scales relevant to agronomic irrigation control. The systematic application of stable carbon isotope discrimination (d13C) might allow post hoc evaluation of irrigation scheduling schemes and might also be a useful germplasm screening tool if the source(s) of variability can be uncovered and/or controlled. Herein, we report results from preliminary efforts to compare leaf and cotton seed d13C to season-long water deficits.