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Optimal Corn Management with Diminished Well Capacities

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  5th National Decennial Irrigation Conference Proceedings, 5-8 December 2010, Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona USA  IRR10-8836.(doi:10.13031/2013.35817)
Authors:   Alan J Schlegel, Loyd R Stone, Troy J Dumler, Freddie R Lamm
Keywords:   Preseason irrigation, well capacity, corn, irrigation management

Many of the irrigation systems today in the Central Great Plains no longer have the capacity to apply peak irrigation needs during the summer and must rely on soil water reserves to buffer the crop from water stress. Considerable research was conducted on preseason irrigation in the US Great Plains region during the 1980s and 1990s. In general, the conclusions were that in-season irrigation was more beneficial than preseason irrigation and that often preseason irrigation was not warranted. The objective of this study was to determine whether preseason irrigation would be profitable with todays lower capacity wells. A field study was conducted at the KSU-SWREC near Tribune, KS, from 2006 to 2009. The study was a factorial design of preplant irrigation (0 and 75 mm), well capacities (2.5, 3.8, and 5 mm day-1 capacity), and plant population (55,000, 68,000, and 80,000 plants ha-1). Preseason irrigation increased grain yields an average of 1.0 Mg ha-1. Grain yields were 29% greater when well capacity was increased from 2.5 to 5.0 mm day-1. Water use efficiency was not significantly affected by well capacity or preseason irrigation. Preseason irrigation was profitable at all well capacities. At well capacities of 2.5 and 3.8 mm day-1, a seeding rate of 68,000 seeds ha-1 was generally more profitable than lower or higher seeding rates. A higher seeding rate (80,000 seeds ha-1) increased profitability when well capacity was increased to 5 mm day-1.

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