Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #407520

Research Project: Dryland and Irrigated Crop Management Under Limited Water Availability and Drought

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Agronomic calendars for the Bushland, Texas sorghum datasets

item Evett, Steven - Steve
item Marek, Gary
item Copeland, Karen
item HOWELL, SR, TERRY - Retired ARS Employee
item Colaizzi, Paul
item BRAUER, DAVID - Retired ARS Employee
item Ruthardt, Brice

Submitted to: Ag Data Commons
Publication Type: Database / Dataset
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2023
Publication Date: 8/11/2023
Citation: Evett, S.R., Marek, G.W., Copeland, K.S., Howell, Sr, T.A., Colaizzi, P.D., Brauer, D.K., Ruthardt, B.B. 2023. Agronomic calendars for the Bushland, Texas sorghum datasets. Ag Data Commons.

Interpretive Summary: The scarcity of water resources in the U.S. Southern High Plains is of regional, national and even international concern due to the fact that the region acts as a breadbasket for the nation and world. The majority of agricultural production in this region depends on irrigation, largely dependent on pumping from the Ogallala or High Plains Aquifer, which are yielding less water every year. Scientists at the USDA ARS Conservation & Production Research Laboratory at Bushland, Texas, collected data that can be used to calculate crop water use under irrigated and dryland conditions in the region’s climate, and regionally specific crop coefficients for irrigation scheduling, including reduced coefficients for subsurface drip irrigation that can save water. In the 1988, 1991, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003 through 2007, 2014, and 2015 seasons (13 years), sorghum was grown on from one to four large, precision weighing lysimeters, each in the center of a 4.44 ha square field also planted to sorghum. This dataset consists of calendars for each year listing the agronomic and other management methods used to grow the crops. These data have not been previously publicly available in a readily useable format. Thus, the scientific team has prepared these unique data sets for sharing with other scientists and the general public on the USDA National Agricultural Library online data sharing library. These data sets have already been used along with crop growth and yield data, to calculate water use, crop water productivity, and crop coefficients to guide irrigation scheduling and water planning locally and regionally. Public accessibility via the USDA National Agricultural Library will increase their use by other researchers developing more capable water management tools and crop water use and yield computer models.

Technical Abstract: This dataset consists of agronomic calendars for each season when sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.)] was grown at the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Laboratory (CPRL), Soil and Water Management Research Unit (SWMRU) research weather station, Bushland, Texas (Lat. 35.186714°, Long. -102.094189°, elevation 1170 m above MSL). The calendars list by day of year the agronomic management (planting, variety planted, fertilizer applications, pesticide applications, irrigation, tillage, harvest, etc., and other events that could have impacted weighing lysimeter measurements of crop water use (scale and datalogger maintenance, drainage tank emptying, measurement activity on the lysimeters, weather events, etc.). In the 1988, 1991, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003 through 2007, 2014, and 2015 seasons (13 years), sorghum was grown on from one to four large, precision weighing lysimeters, each in the center of a 4.44 ha square field also planted to sorghum. The square fields were themselves arranged in a larger square with four fields in four adjacent quadrants of the larger square. Fields and lysimeters within each field were thus designated northeast (NE), southeast (SE), northwest (NW), and southwest (SW). Sorghum was grown on different combinations of fields in different years. When irrigated, irrigation was by linear move sprinkler system years before 2014, and by both sprinkler and subsurface drip irrigation in 2014 and 2015. Irrigation protocols described as full were managed to replenish soil water used by the crop on a weekly or more frequent basis as determined by soil profile water content readings made with a neutron probe to 2.4-m depth in the field. Irrigation protocols described as deficit typically involved irrigation at rates established as percentages of full irrigation ranging from 33% to 75% depending on the year. These datasets originate from research aimed at determining crop water use (ET), crop coefficients for use in ET-based irrigation scheduling based on a reference ET, crop growth, yield, harvest index, and crop water productivity as affected by irrigation method, timing, amount (full or some degree of deficit), agronomic practices, cultivar, and weather. Prior publications have focused on sorghum ET, crop coefficients, crop water productivity, and simulation modeling of crop water use, growth, and yield. Crop coefficients have been used by ET networks. The data have utility for testing simulation models of crop ET, growth, and yield and have been used for testing, and calibrating models of ET that use satellite and/or weather data.