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Improving Water Use Efficiency of Spring Maize by Adopting Limited Supplemental Irrigation Following Sufficient Pre-Sowing Irrigation in Northwest China

1
Key Laboratory of Agricultural Soil and Water Engineering in Arid and Semiarid Areas, Ministry of Education, Northwest A & F University, Yangling 712100, China
2
Department of Biosystems Engineering and Food Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 802; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040802
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Water Management and Water Saving Strategies)
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Abstract

In order to improve the water use efficiency (WUE) of spring maize in northwest China, the irrigation strategy of adopting limited supplemental irrigation following a high quota pre-sowing irrigation was evaluated under field conditions in 2016 and 2018. There were three treatments (W1, W2 and W3) differing in designed wetting depth (Dh) where soil water was replenished. Dh in W1, W2 and W3 were 0–40, 0–50 and 0–60 cm, respectively. The limited supplemental irrigation was adopted to improve soil water content (SWC) within Dh to field capacity (θFC) when SWC within 0–40 cm layer decreased to 60%θFC following a high rate of pre-sowing irrigation. Results showed that the smaller Dh was beneficial for improving root length density and enhance the utilization of water in subsoil. In both seasons, different Dh led to similar grain yields, which were comparable to the typical regional yield (14.3 t ha−1). The highest WUE (2.79 kg m−3) was achieved in W1 and was 13% more than the typical regional level of 2.46 kg m−3, implying it was adequate for achieving high yield and WUE to maintain SWC in 0–40 cm above 60% θFC with not replenishing soil water in 40–100 cm during the growth season after pre-sowing irrigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: spring maize; irrigation strategy; designed wetting depth; grain yield; water use efficiency spring maize; irrigation strategy; designed wetting depth; grain yield; water use efficiency
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Zhou, S.; Hu, X.; Zhou, Z.; Wang, W.; Ran, H. Improving Water Use Efficiency of Spring Maize by Adopting Limited Supplemental Irrigation Following Sufficient Pre-Sowing Irrigation in Northwest China. Water 2019, 11, 802.

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