Source: Agricultural Research Service



Studies in China and Colorado by Agricultural Research Service scientists and cooperators have revealed some interesting tactics on how to irrigate with limited water, based on a crop's critical growth stages.



Laj Ahuja, research leader at the ARS Agricultural Systems Research Unit in Fort Collins, Colo., and colleagues conducted the studies.



As one example, with wheat in China, they found it best to use 80 percent of the water for wheat's two critical growth stages. In Colorado, it was best to use 80 percent of the water for corn's critical flowering and grain filling stages.



Other tactics for putting limited water to best use are to irrigate only part of a field, skip the pre-plant irrigation for corn, delay irrigating until up to half of the soil water is depleted, and wet soil to no more than 70 percent of field capacity.



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