Evaluation of crop-growth-stage-based deficit irrigation strategies for cotton production in the Southern High Plains
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Identification of efficient crop-growth-stage-based deficit irrigation strategies for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) can play a pivotal role in optimizing the use of available irrigation water in the Southern High Plains (SHP) region, which is facing severe challenges from rapidly declining groundwater levels in the underlying Ogallala Aquifer. The objective of this study was to suggest efficient crop-growth-stage-based deficit irrigation strategies for cotton under nine different climate variability classes using the CROPGRO-Cotton module available in the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) Cropping System Model (CSM). Cotton growth stages considered in this study include: i) germination and seedling emergence (GS1), ii) squaring (GS2), iii) flower initiation/ early bloom (GS3), iv) peak bloom (GS4), and v) cutout, late bloom and boll opening stage (GS5). The amount of seasonal irrigation water applied was varied from 120 to 540 mm under eight different irrigation scheduling scenarios with four irrigation application rates of 3, 6, 8 and 9 mm d−1 using the subsurface drip irrigation method. Under each scenario, six growth-stage-based irrigation treatments were adopted, resulting in a total of 48 irrigation strategies. Results indicated that imposing water deficit in the initial (GS1 to GS2) or final (GS5) growth stages had little effect on seed cotton yield. The peak bloom growth stage (GS4) was found to be the most sensitive stage to water stress, and imposing water deficit during this stage resulted in the lowest irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) and seed cotton yield under most climate variability classes. Application of higher than 420 mm irrigation did not significantly contribute to an increase in seed cotton yield and resulted in a decline in IWUE. The results from this study are useful for the SHP producers to make appropriate crop-growth-stage-based deficit irrigation management decisions for achieving higher seed cotton yield while conserving precious irrigation water resources from the Ogallala Aquifer.
author list (cited authors)
Himanshu, S. K., Ale, S., Bordovsky, J., & Darapuneni, M.