Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Effects of irrigation frequency on yields of winter wheat

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  • Deliberately underirrigating a crop may yield economic benefits. The optimal use of water by an irrigator should be achieved under a deficit irrigation regime. It is important to know how water deficits affect yields and the interaction of the deficits with the scheduling of irrigations. A field experiment was conducted during the 1981 irrigation season to investigate the effects of high and low frequency deficit irrigation on yields of winter wheat. Yield and water use data were used to construct three production functions. The relationship between the level of water use and the resulting yield were determined for three irrigation frequency regimes. Field plots under daily (high frequency), weekly (normal frequency), and stress (reduced frequency) regimes were included in the field experiment as well as two dryland production plots. The relationships derived from this project were characterized by a large degree of scatter in the results. Highly favorable weather conditions offset the effects of irrigation deficits on plant yields throughout the irrigation season. At this time, a second year of data is in the process of compilation. The results of a regression analysis showed no statistically significant difference in the water use-yield relationships of the three irrigation frequency regimes. The effect of frequency did not lead to any readily apparent differences in the three production functions. The efficiency of water use of the different irrigation frequencies increases with decreasing amount of applied water for the 1981 crop year. The most efficient treatment, i.e., least water use per unit of yield, was the pre-plant irrigated, dryfarmed plots. The density of the wheat, a measure of crop quality also increased with decreased water use in this experiment. The optimal irrigation treatment (measured by production and quality) was the two-week frequency set.
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