Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011TX390B

Assessing Low Ear Placement Corn Hybrids as a Way of Increasing Water Use Efficiency

Institute: Texas
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $14,760

Principal Investigators: Jacob Becker, Brent Bean

Abstract: Texas corn producers are able to obtain corn yields that rival that of any region in the world. Without irrigation from the declining Ogallala aquifer, these yields would not be possible. Over the past 50 years, tremendous advances have been made in improving irrigation efficiency. However, many producers are turning to limited irrigation, because of the dwindling water supply. Many factors come into play when discussing water use efficiency (WUE). Planting population, hybrid height, or hybrid maturity can all be important factors. The primary location for the study will be the Texas AgriLife Experiment station in Etter, TX. Dr. Xu, a corn breeder for Texas AgriLife has developed a hybrid with a low ear placement. Another hybrid, who shares the same female, has a normal ear height. These two hybrids will be planted alongside a popular commercial corn hybrid in the region. Irrigation water will be applied at 75% and 60% of evapotranspiration (ET). We believe that lowering the ear height will increase the harvest index. By placing the ear closer to the ground, it will be closer to critical water and nutrients. This, in turn, can raise the WUE.