, Volume 22, Issue 3-4, pp 195-200
Date: 09 Sep 2003

Subsurface drip irrigation for corn production: a review of 10 years of research in Kansas

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Abstract

Kansas State University initiated studies in 1989 to develop the methodology for successful application of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) for corn production on the deep silt loam soils of the Central Great Plains, USA. Irrigation water use for corn can be reduced by 35–55% when using SDI compared with more traditional forms of irrigation in the region. Irrigation frequency has not been a critical issue when SDI is used for corn production on the deep silt loam soils of the region. A dripline spacing of 1.5 m has been found to be most economical for corn grown in 0.76 m spaced rows. Nitrogen fertigation was a very effective management tool with SDI, helping to maximize corn grain yield, while obtaining high efficiencies of nitrogen and water use. The research SDI systems have been utilized since 1989 without replacement or major degradation. SDI systems lasting 10–20 years are cost competitive for corn production with the more traditional forms of irrigation in the Great Plains for certain field sizes.

Communicated by P. Thorburn