Irrigation Frequency During Fruiting as a Yield Determinant in Upland Cotton
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AbstractWhen cotton is irrigated at long intervals, the root systems become less effective at absorbing water during heavy fruiting, even when the soil is moist. That ineffectiveness, if not counteracted by frequent watering can exaggerate water stress responses during fruiting and promote early cutout. Deltapine 90 cotton was grown at the Maricopa Agricultural Center in 1988 and watered either by daily drip irrigation or by level -basin flooding. In the flood-irrigated plots, various schedules for applying water during fruiting were compared with minimal differences in total water applied. The check treatment (9 postplant irrigations) yielded approximately 2 bales of lint per acre. Small supplemental irrigations on 13 July and 22 July, splitting the normal irrigation cycles, increased yield 45% for only 6% more applied water. Daily drip irrigation in the trials increased yield 63% above the check on 1% more applied water over the season. The results show that flood- irrigated yields can approach drip-irrigated yields without excessive water use, if the irrigation cycle is shortened during fruiting.