|Author:||Iqbal, M. Anjum ; Eitzinger, J. ; Hassan, A. ; Bodner, G. ; Heng, L.K.|
|Book Group Author:||NA|
Agricultural food production in arid and semi-arid regions faces the challenge to ensure high yields with limited supply of water. This raises the question to which extent irrigation supply can be reduced without detriment to yield. Our study focuses on the yield-water uptake relationship for maize in the moderate water stress range in order to determine the onset of stress-induced dry-matter and yield losses. Compensatory plant responses under moderate stress levels are discussed in relation to seasonal climatic conditions. Summer-sown and spring-sown maize were irrigated with a decreasing amount of water in a field experiment in Pakistan. Water supply ranged from 100% water required to maintain soil at field capacity (FC) to 40% of FC. The average dry-matter and yield levels were slightly higher for summer-sown (15.0Mgha??£) compared to spring-sown maize (13.1Mgha??£). The onset of significant dry-matter and yield reduction started at the least irrigation treatment in both seasons. The amount of water required to avoid production losses was 272mm in the summer-sown maize during the autumn growing season, and 407mm for the spring-sown maize in the summer season, when the evaporative demand of the atmosphere was +27% higher. Water use efficiency (WUEET), normalized by vapour pressure deficit, of the summer-sown maize which was 10.0kgkPam??d, was +15% higher compared to the spring-sown crop; while the irrigation water productivity (2.9kgm??d) was +11% more. WUEET increased over the whole range of applied water deficits for summer-sown maize, while the spring-sown crop showed a decreasing WUEET in the less irrigated treatment. Due to the higher efficiency in summer-sown maize, the potential in irrigation reduction without production losses (129mm) was higher compared to the spring-sown maize (57mm). Our results showed that in Pakistan water saving irrigation practices can be applied without yield loss mainly during the cooler growing season when the crop can efficiently compensate a lower total water uptake by increased use efficiency. For spring-sown maize the increasing evaporative demand of the atmosphere towards summer implies a higher risk of yield losses and narrows the range to exploit higher irrigation water productivity under moderate water deficit conditions.
|Pages:||731 - 737|
|Journal:||Agricultural water management|
Water use efficiency; Evapotranspiration; Maize; Irrigation; Growing season; Pakistan