Effects of Water Distribution Uniformity on Waxy Corn (Zea mays L.) Yield: Preliminary Results


To face climatic changes, the increase of frequency and severity of droughts, and economic development pressures, Water Management Institutions point at the necessity of water conserving. A sustainable demand-led approach is the most viable option, focusing on achieving more efficient irrigation practices instead of less sustainable expansion of supply. The aim of this work is to investigate on some aspects of the rational water management for the irrigation of corn in order to evaluate the actual possibility of introduction of drip irrigation systems on the Venetian Plain. Trials were carried out on a farm located in Isola della Scala (Verona, Italy) in an area of about 13 ha (12 ha with a drip irrigation system and 1 ha with a solid-set sprinkler system); the effects of the performance of the two systems on waxy corn yield were considered. In particular, water distribution uniformity, water use efficiency, and yield performance of irrigation systems were evaluated. DUlq and CU coefficients for distribution uniformity and IWUe and WUEb indexes for water use efficiency were calculated. To visualize and better analyze the distribution uniformity, the crop yield and the efficiency parameters, ArcGIS 10 (ESRI?) with IDW interpolation were used to create maps. First results show a good water uniformity distribution in the drip irrigation system but only with a careful and proper design of the entire system. As regards the water use efficiency, drip irrigation values are lower than those of sprinkler irrigation (-46% for IWUe and -25% for WUEb), probably due to different irrigation management and water volumes used: in fact, drip irrigation was scheduled every three days, while only supplemental operations were done for sprinkler irrigation. No statistical correlation was found between application rate and yield for both irrigations systems, while a significant correlation was found between irrigation volume and crop water use efficiency. The profitability of the two irrigation systems was compared. The results show that the income of drip irrigation is slightly lower than sprinkler irrigation, mostly due to the use of “throw away” drip lines.

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Bortolini, L. and Martello, M. (2014) Effects of Water Distribution Uniformity on Waxy Corn (Zea mays L.) Yield: Preliminary Results. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 6, 1037-1044. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2014.611098.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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