Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Irrigating Cotton

Posted by romeethredge on December 13, 2012

Cotton Incorporated has a new cotton irrigation publication on its website. Our UGA Stripling Irrigation Park in Camilla and Ag Engineer and Director there Calvin Perry, had a part in this publication. Here’s some info concerning it and here’s the link to go to it.

Irrigation Management for Humid Regions

 Use of irrigation has been increasing across the humid areas of the Cotton Belt for the last 20 years. While there is a large collection of information for irrigation management related to cotton in arid regions, information specific to management under humid conditions is not as well developed. Therefore, the objective of this publication is to provide producers with an overview of the technologies available to schedule irrigation and key concepts related to water management for cotton grown in areas where rainfall provides a significant amount of the water requirements in most years.

This document is divided into nine sections that address a variety of topics including: the benefits of irrigation and why water management is important; cotton water requirements in humid areas; growth stages that are sensitive to water stress; and a review of tools for irrigation scheduling. An overview of different methods to deliver water to the field is also provided.

Irrigation water, if managed wisely, is an important tool to optimize productivity of the land and to ensure that no other inputs go to waste. Thus, it is an important tool that can be used in developing a sustainable crop management strategy. Granted, there is great competition from urban and industrial water users, even in the water-rich Mid-South and Southeast, but it is the authors’ hope that by using the knowledge presented here every drop of water applied to cotton will be used beneficially.


 Here’s a list of the different sections in the publication:

▸ Why Irrigate Cotton?

Irrigation Stabilizes and Boosts Yield

Removing Risks Associated with Yield Instability

Why Plants Need Water

Seasonal Water Requirements Vary by Climate

Plant Response to Water Stress

The Relationship Between Water and Yield

Water Use Efficiency

Increasing Water Use Efficiency

Boosting Yield and Reducing Costs

Optimizing the Use of All Crop Inputs

Getting the “Most Crop Per Drop”

▸ Why Schedule Irrigation?

The Risk of Too Much Water

Proper Irrigation Methods

Plant Available Water

Results of Water Loss

Estimating the Soil’s Ability to Provide Water

Signs of Water Stress

Targeted Irrigation Scheduling

The Art and Science of Irrigation Scheduling/p>

▸ Initiating and Terminating Irrigation for the Season

When to Initiate the First Irrigation

Irrigation Near the Time of Emergence

When to Apply the Last Irrigation

▸ Cotton Water Requirements


Measuring Evapotranspiration

Water Use

Water Use and Crop Coefficients

▸ Water-Sensitivity of Cotton Growth Stages

Planting to Emergence

Emergence to First Square

First Square to First Flower

First Flower to Peak Bloom

Peak Bloom to Open Bolls

▸ Sensor-Based Scheduling

Types of Measurements

Types of Sensors

Costs and Methods of Obtaining Soil Water Data

Decision Factors

Cost Factors

Locating Sensors

Irrigation Scheduling

Types of Irrigation Systems

Access to Sensors

Sensor Installation

Compatibility with Field Operations

Connecting Wireless Systems

Interpreting Sensor Results

Accuracy of Sensor Readings

Retrospective Use of Sensors

Using Post-Season Soil-Water Data

▸ Irrigation Scheduling Tools

Water Balance Method

Soil Water Content

Maintaining Soil Water

Estimating Crop Water Use

The Mississippi Irrigation Scheduling Tool – MIST

The MOIST Program (University of Tennessee)

Combining Soil Moisture Monitoring with Water Balancing

▸ Management Considerations for Irrigated Cotton

Cotton Crop Irrigation Increasing

Germination and Seedling Emergence

Pre-Squaring Cotton

Squaring Cotton

Early Bloom Cotton

Cutout, Late Bloom and Boll Opening Cotton

General Irrigation Management Considerations

Irrigation Adds Flexibility to Farming Operations

Irrigation and Variety Selection

▸ Irrigation Systems Overview

Subsurface Drip Irrigation

Surface Drip Irrigation

Center Pivots

Surface Irrigation (Flood/Furrow)

Irrigation Water Quality


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