See more from this Session: Soil and Water Conservation: Management Practices to Increase Sustainability: I
The cultivation of corn (Zea mays) in areas with pronounced seasonal moisture deficits requires intensive use of irrigation. Aquifer depletion, drought, and rising water and pumping costs dictate that continued production of corn will be limited in future years if an effective conservation plan is not established. This study quantified input/output relationships by comparing the forage and grain yields as influenced by a series of deficit irrigation regimes used in conjunction with the surfactant IrrigAid Gold. Plants received weekly drip-irrigation applications of water only (W) and water + surfactant (W+S) to replenish 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of weekly ETo losses based on the crop coefficient for corn in inland Southern California, and local CIMIS evapotranspiration data. Results indicate that as the water stress increased corn yield and yiel components followed a decreasing trend. All treatments receiving surfactant treatment (W+S) at any Irrigation level performed better than their water only counterparts. Grain yields showed 100 W+S 12% more than 100 W and 80 W+S and 60 W+S produced significantly more grain than their water only counterparts. 40% W and W+S did not produce yields that economically justify reductions of irrigation to this extent. The results of the two years experiment suggested that 60 W+S produced grains, stem and leaves dry matter that were comparable to 100 W. Plants receiving100 W+S produced the best in total yield, grain yield and had the best harvest index of any other treatment.
Keywords: Surfactant, Water conservation, corn, California