FO-03875 Reviewed 1991
It is desirable to have the amount of irrigation water applied be somewhat less than the actual soil water deficit to allow some storage reserve for rainfall. During early plant growth the irrigation depth should be 30-50 percent of the soil water deficit. Use this practice also for most crops during the last two to three weeks before maturity. This approach reduces possible leaching from normal rainfall events.
During the crop's critical growth periods, set the irrigation depth at 60-100 percent of the current soil water deficit depending on the normal operation of the irrigation system. Most center pivot systems obtain greatest water efficiency with 0.75-1.50 inch application depths.
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Extension Service, under special project number 89-EWQI-1-9180.
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