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Corn yield under subirrigation and future climate scenarios in the Maumee River Basin

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

Citation:  2016 10th International Drainage Symposium Conference, 6-9 September 2016, Minneapolis, Minnesota  .(doi:10.13031/IDS.20162515032)
Authors:   Kpoti M Gunn, William J Baule, Jane R Frankenberger, Debra L Gamble, Barry J Allred, Jeff A. Andresen, Larry C Brown
Keywords:   Drainage, irrigation, relative yield, Maumee, climate change, DRAINMOD, Nappanee, WRSIS

Abstract. Subirrigation has been proposed as a water table management practice to maintain appropriate soil water content during periods of high crop water demand on subsurface drained croplands in the Corn Belt. Subirrigation takes advantage of the subsurface drainage systems already installed on drained agricultural lands to remove excess soil water after precipitation events. However, limited information regarding corn yield under subirrigation is available to promote its implementation at a large scale. In addition, its performance within the backdrop of climate change has not been explored in the context of the Corn Belt. DRAINMOD was calibrated and validated for a location with Nappanee loam soil in the Maumee River Basin in Northwest Ohio. The model was then used to investigate relative corn yield differences between subirrigation and free subsurface drainage for historical (1984-2013) and projected future (2041-2070) climate conditions. For historical conditions, the mean relative corn yield increased by 26.5% under subirrigation. Under free subsurface drainage, corn relative yields were lower for future climate conditions than for historical climate conditions. For the projected future climate conditions, overall relative corn yields under subirrigation increased by 36.5% compared to relative yields under free subsurface drainage. Subirrigation contributed in sustaining relative corn yields under future climate conditions.

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