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Irrigating corn on Sharkey clay soils using different furrow irrigation spacings
Proceedings of the 2023 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2023 Authors: Freeland T., Gholson D., Singh G., Kaur G., Larson E.

In the Mississippi Delta, over 40% of the farmland is classified as clay soils. Corn is mainly produced on sandy loam to silt loam textured soils. However, the recent economic returns on corn have led producers to start utilizing clay soils for corn production. Clay soils frequently flood and waterlog. Each day waterlogging occurs corn can lose between 5-30% of yield depending on the stage of growth. The overall objective of this research is to determine whether altering irrigated furrow spacings on Sharkey clay soils can reduce flooding and waterlogging to better benefit corn yield. The experimental design was a randomized complete block design with four replications. Furrow irrigation spacing treatments include every row irrigation, skip row irrigation, 4-row skip irrigation, and 8-row skip irrigation. The 4-row and 8-row skip treatments were further broken down to differentiate furrows that were irrigated and non-irrigated. They are noted as 4R-I, 4R-NI, 8R-I, and 8R-NI, respectively. Data on irrigation water applied, volumetric water content, plant population, plant heights, crop water stress index, multispectral imagery, corn yield, and grain quality are collected from this study. In 2021, the 4R-NI treatment yielded the highest in the trial at 177 bu/ac, while the 8R-NI had the lowest yield at 161 bu/ac. When looking at the volumetric water content in 2021, the 4-row skip treatments held the highest volumetric water content. The yield for the 2022 season was skewed by disease, so it will not be considered. In 2022, the skip row treatment held the highest volumetric water content. A third year will be conducted to further our understanding of the present data shown.

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