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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Agronomic and economic response to furrow diking tillage in irrigated and non-irrigated cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

Authors
item Nuti, Russell
item Lamb, Marshall
item Sorensen, Ronald
item Truman, Clinton

Submitted to: Agricultural Water Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 2009
Publication Date: April 1, 2009
Citation: Nuti, R.C., Lamb, M.C., Sorensen, R.B., Truman, C.C. 2009. Agronomic and economic response to furrow diking tillage in irrigated and non-irrigated cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Agricultural Water Management. (2009) 96:1078-1084.

Interpretive Summary: The Southeast U.S. receives an average of 50 inches of annual rainfall, but poor rainfall timing often limits production. Irrigation is used during the growing season to supplement rainfall during dry periods. Increasing capture of rainfall would improve water use efficiency and reduce irrigation requirements. Furrow diking has been proposed as a cost effective management practice that is designed to create a series of storage basins in the furrow between crop rows to catch and retain rainfall and irrigation water. Furrow diking has received much attention in arid and semi-arid regions with mixed results, yet has not been adapted for cotton production in the Southeast U.S. Our objectives were to evaluate the agronomic response and economic feasibility of producing cotton with and without furrow diking in conventional tillage over a range of irrigation rates including dryland. Studies were conducted at 2 research sites each year from 2005-2007. Irrigation scheduling was based on Irrigator Pro for Cotton software. The use of furrow diking in these studies periodically reduced water consumption and improved yield and net returns. In 2006 and 2007, when irrigation scheduling was based on soil water status, an average of 3 inches per acre of irrigation water was saved by furrow diking, and cotton yield and net return was not reduced. Furrow diking improved cotton yield an average of 152 pounds per acre and net return by $99 per acre over multiple irrigation rates, in 1 of 3 years. The results of these studies suggest that furrow diking has the capability to reduce irrigation requirements and the costs associated with irrigation when rainfall is periodic and drought is not severe.

Technical Abstract: The Southeast U.S. receives an average of 1300 mm annual rainfall, however poor seasonal distribution of rainfall often limits production. Irrigation is used during the growing season to supplement rainfall to sustain profitable crop production. Increased water capture would improve water use efficiency and reduce irrigation requirements. Furrow diking has been proposed as a cost effective management practice that is designed to create a series of storage basins in the furrow between crop rows to catch and retain rainfall and irrigation water. Furrow diking has received much attention in arid and semi-arid regions with mixed results, yet has not been adapted for cotton production in the Southeast U.S. Our objectives were to evaluate the agronomic response and economic feasibility of producing cotton with and without furrow diking in conventional tillage over a range of irrigation rates including no irrigation. Studies were conducted at 2 research sites each year from 2005-2007. Irrigation scheduling was based on Irrigator Pro for Cotton software. The use of furrow diking in these studies periodically reduced water consumption and improved yield and net returns. In 2006 and 2007, when irrigation scheduling was based on soil water status, an average of 76 mm ha-1 of irrigation water was saved by furrow diking, producing similar cotton yield and net returns. Furrow diking improved cotton yield an average of 171 kg ha-1 and net return by $245 ha-1 over multiple irrigation rates, in 1 of 3 years. We conclude that furrow diking has the capability to reduce irrigation requirements and the costs associated with irrigation when rainfall is periodic and drought is not severe.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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