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Forage Sorghum Evapotranspiration and Crop Coefficients

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  IRR10-9705.(doi:10.13031/2013.35871)
Authors:   Terry Howell, Steven R Evett, Karen S Copeland, Judy A Tolk
Keywords:   Silage, Forage Quality, Weighing Lysimeters, Water Conservation, Irrigation Scheduling

Forage sorghum, especially brown mid rib (BMR) hybrids, offers attractive silage options in place of corn and has excellent ethanol conversions compared with other forage sorghums. The purpose of the study was to measure the evapotranspiration (ET), yield, forage quality, and water use efficiency of a fully irrigated BMR forage sorghum hybrid grown for silage in a semi-arid, advective environment. One monolithic weighing lysimeter (3 m x 3 m by 2.3 m deep) was used in 2006 and 2007 to measure the ET of forage sorghum in a 4.2 ha field. The crop coefficients (Kc) were computed using both the ASCE standardized short- and tall-crop reference ET equations (ETo and ETr, respectively) and contrasted with Kc values for grain sorghum and corn for grain in this environment. The discussion will focus on the crop water use, forage quality, and water use efficiency aspects of the study and water conservation of forage sorghum compared with irrigated corn in this region.

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