Rio Grande Basin Initiative

2003-04 Deliverables

Task 4 Research
Principal Investigator(s): Bob Wiedenfeld

  1. Continue development of crop coefficients for use with reference evapotranspiration for sugarcane using moisture balance based on soil moisture monitoring, degree days, and leaf area index (a 60 acre sprinkler irrigated field). The plant crop and 1st ratoon have been completed, and the 2nd ratoon crop is currently growing.
  2. Continue study to determine sugarcane response to different levels of soil moisture stress and N fertilization (a replicated, drip irrigated field study). Two crops have been completed, and the 2nd ratoon crop is currently growing.
  3. Continue study to compare crop water use for conventional vs several conservation tillage systems in the subtropical Rio Grande Valley (a replicated field study). This study was initiated with a fall cover crop in one treatment in 2001 followed by cotton in all treatments in the spring of 2002. However, the field site turned out to be too variable for furrow irrigation; so the site was laser leveled and the study reinitiated with fall crops in two treatments. Grain sorghum is currently growing in all treatments. This is anticipated to be a long term tillage study. (Cooperator - Charles Stichler)
  4. A study evaluating an "electrostatic precipitator" on the effects of irrigation water quality on sugarcane growth and yield was conducted in a commercial grower's field in 2002. Data collection is complete and the results will be published.
  5. A first draft of a "Sugarcane Irrigation Guide" for sugarcane growers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas has been written. Plans are to publish this in conjunction with Guy Fipps as an Extension Publication.
  6. Continue study to compare crop water use by different cool-season vegetable crops under drip and flood irrigation (a replicated field study). The second year of this study has just been completed, and will be continued in cooperation with Dr. Jon Jifon.
  7. Other new irrigation research activities are anticipated to be initiated in cooperation with the irrigation agricultural engineer that will be coming to Weslaco this year.
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