Effect of subsurface drip irrigation system uniformity on cotton production in the Texas high plains
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Planned reductions in subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system uniformity in the semi-arid environment of West Texas could reduce installation costs. A SDI system was installed and cotton production experiment conducted from 2001 to 2006 to evaluate irrigation system water distribution uniformities having flow variations (Qvar) = 5%, 15%, and 27% at both moderate and near full irrigation levels. Flow variation treatments were established by installing and irrigating cotton with different diameter drip laterals in field plots in a complete block layout. Subsurface drip laterals with diameters of 17, 22, and 25 mm, pressurized at 72, 83, and 45 kPa, respectively, resulted in different irrigation uniformity treatments defined as poor (POOR), very good (VGD), and acceptable (ACC). Cotton lint yield response tended to follow changes in emitter flow rate along the length of drip laterals, but not to the extent expected. Total cotton lint yield and total yield value were not significantly affected by irrigation system designs with Qvar between 5% and 27%. Average total lint yields across years were in a narrow range between 1603 and 1643 kg ha-1 yr-1 and average yield values were between 1907 and 1960 $ ha-1 yr-1 among all treatments. Over the five test years, field topography and environmental conditions common to the Texas High Plains appeared to have offset the expected cotton yield variability caused by non-uniform SDI water delivery. © 2008 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
author list (cited authors)
Bordovsky, J. P., & Porter, D. O.