Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2013OK297B

Comparison of Grain Sorghum and Corn Productivity under Limited Irrigation with Subsurface Drip

Institute: Oklahoma
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $25,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $50,000

Principal Investigators: Jason Warren, Nicholas Kenny, Rick Kochenower

Abstract: Irrigation is the primary use of water from the Ogallala aquifer in the Panhandle Region of Oklahoma, accounting for approximately 68% of withdrawal. This water and the crops it produces serve as the economic backbone of the region. However, the longevity of this agricultural system is uncertain. Withdrawal from the Ogallala Aquifer is in excess of recharge, causing a decline in water levels and pumping capacities. This proposal seeks to evaluate and demonstrate viable alternatives to the traditional production of irrigated corn under center pivot irrigation. Specifically, the project will compare the water use of grain sorghum and corn using subsurface drip irrigation. The data will provide a yield response curve to a range of irrigation application rates. This information will be used to determine an irrigation rate below which the production of grain sorghum becomes more profitable than corn. The project will demonstrate the efficiencies of using drip irrigation for corn or sorghum production. Utilization of commercially available irrigation scheduling technologies will also be demonstrated. The integration of extension and research efforts will advance the scientific understanding of high yielding irrigated grain sorghum in the panhandle region as well as promote change to irrigation management practices that focus on optimizing water use efficiency thereby maximizing the profitability per inch of water applied. This will in turn increase the longevity of the agricultural economy of the Oklahoma Panhandle.