American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
NRES-15536-2023.SuplemntaryMaterial.pdf (376.63 kB)

Supplemental information for "The Effect of Drainage and Subirrigation From a Small Drainage Water Recycling Reservoir on Corn and Soybean Yields in Eastern North Carolina"

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posted on 2024-01-24, 18:49 authored by Hossam Moursi, Mohamed A. Youssef, Chad A Poole

Drainage water recycling (DWR) has been proposed as a source of supplemental irrigation to increase crop production resilience to extended and more frequent dry periods during the crop growing season; however, the system’s potential benefits have not been adequately quantified. The main objective of this study was to assess the performance of a DWR system for providing water for supplemental irrigation to corn and soybean at a research site in eastern North Carolina and quantify corn and soybean yield responses during 4 growing seasons (2018-2021) with varying weather conditions. Two treatments were implemented at the study site: DWR and control (CT) treatment. The CT treatment was a 11.23 ha non-irrigated field that was primarily drained by a surface drainage system. The DWR treatment (11.48 ha) had a subsurface drainage system that provides drainage during the wet periods and subirrigation during the dry periods of the growing season. A small size reservoir (5,458 m3) was used to collect surface runoff and subsurface drainage and subirrigate the DWR treatment. Results showed that the DWR reservoir stored enough water to meet irrigation requirements in 3 of the 4 growing seasons and provided 5 to 73 mm of irrigation to the DWR treatment. Subirrigation raised the groundwater table by an average of 15 cm, which helped increase the upward movement of soil water to the root zone and meet crop evapotranspiration demand. DWR increased corn yields by 0.13 and 0.91 Mg ha-1 (1 and 79%) and soybean yields by 0.31 and 0.59 Mg ha-1 (9 and 30%). Subirrigation which is generally less efficient than overhead irrigation methods, did not optimize the use of the limited water stored in the small reservoir and could not provide enough protection to corn against prolonged dry conditions in the 2019 growing season. The amount of nutrients recycled back to the field through subirrigation was not large enough to help reduce fertilizer application rate. Overall, the results demonstrated that DWR is a promising practice for increasing the resilience of crop production in the southeastern U.S. to the uncertainty in precipitation, which is expected to intensify by climate change. Monitoring the performance of DWR for longer periods with varying factors of weather, soil, and system design and management would help guide the design and management of the system to optimize the performance and minimize the implementation cost.


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The Effect of Drainage and Subirrigation From a Small Drainage Water Recycling Reservoir on Corn and Soybean Yields in Eastern North Carolina

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