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Furrow Irrigated Cotton on Clayey Soil in the Lower Mississippi River Valley

Pitts, D. J., Wright, R. E., Kimbrough, J. A., Johnson, D. R.
Applied engineering in agriculture 1990 v.6 no.4 pp. 446-452
Gossypium, agricultural engineering, arid lands, clay soils, economic analysis, furrow irrigation, irrigation scheduling, seed cotton, soil water, valleys, water stress, yields
A majority of cotton currently grown in the lower Mississippi River Valley is under dryland production. A three-year field study was conducted to evaluate furrow irrigation as a production practice for cotton (Gossypium hirsutus L.) grown on clayey soils. Soil-water potential (SWP) was used as the primary method for scheduling irrigation. Three other methods, soil-water deficit (SWD), leaf-water potential (LWP), and crop water stress index (CWSI), were compared to SWP as means for determining irrigation timing. Irrigation resulted in a significant yield increase over non-irrigated cotton in each year of the study. The mean yield was 3470 kg/ha (3090 lb/acre) for the irrigated cotton and 2312 kg/ha (2059 lb/acre) for the non-irrigated, which resulted in an average annual increase of 1158 kg/ha (1031 lb/acre) of seed cotton. An economic analysis comparing cost to benefit of irrigation on cotton showed an average annual return of $240 ha-1 ($97 acre-1).