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Evapotranspiration And Yield Of Corn Grown On Three High Plains Soils

J. Tolk, T. Howell, S. Evett
Published 1998 · Biology

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Soil properties that vary within a production area present management challenges to producers when water supplies are limited. We conducted three experiments to determine the influence of soil type and different water management levels on corn (Zea mays L.) yield, evapotranspiration (ET), and water use efficiency. Short-season corn was grown at low population density in lysimeters containing monolithic soil cores of Pullman (fine, mixed, superactive, thermic Torrertic Paleustoll), Ulysses (fine-silty, mixed, superactive, mesic Aridic Haplustoll), and Amarillo (fine-loamy, mixed, thermic Aridic Paleustalf) soils, at a rain shelter facility in Bushland, TX. Dryland conditions were simulated in 1994 and 1995, with the soils receiving irrigations totaling either 50 or 150 mm in 1994 and either 120 or 200 mm in 1995. In 1996, water management levels were expanded, with the soils receiving weekly irrigation equivalent to 20, 50, 80, and 110% of measured ET. Grain yields for the 3 yr ranged from 389 to 804 g m -2 for the Pullman soil, 559 to 899 g m -2 for the Ulysses soil, and 438 to 736 g m -2 for the Amarillo soil. Low grain yields from corn in the Pullman soil were due to limited water extraction from the lower soil profile. Even under full irrigation (110%), grain yield and leaf area were lower for corn in the Amarillo soil than with the two other soils, possibly due to limited water availability. Soil type effects on corn water use and yield may require different water management strategies for optimum water use efficiency.



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