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Alternate furrow irrigation can maintain grain yield and nutrient content, and increase crop water productivity in dry season maize in sub-tropical climate of South Asia

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  • Sarker, Khokan Kumer
  • Hossain, Akbar
  • Timsina, Jagadish
  • Biswas, Sujit Kumar
  • Malone, Sparkle L.
  • Alam, Md. Khairul
  • Loescher, Henry W.
  • Bazzaz, Mahfuz

Abstract

Water scarcity is becoming a major constraint for maize cultivation and increasing maize yield globally. Water-saving irrigation methods are required to increase crop water productivity (CWP) without reducing grain yield and nutrient uptake. We evaluated the effects of different methods and levels of irrigation on crop dry matter, grain yield, nutrient uptake and CWP of maize (cv. ‘BARI Hybrid Bhutta-9′) in field condition in a sub-tropical environment in Bangladesh. The experiment was laid out in a nested plot design with three replications during 2014−15 and 2015−16. The treatments were three irrigation levels (I1: 100 % field capacity, FC; I2: 80 % FC; I3: 60 % FC) and three irrigation methods (AFI: alternate furrow irrigation; SFFI: skip-fixed furrow irrigation; and TFI: traditional furrow irrigation). Results indicate that both the irrigation method and level had significant effects on dry matter, grain yield, nutrient uptake, and CWP. The AFI technique maintained similar grain yield (8.1 t ha−1) to TFI but reduced irrigation water by 37 % for irrigation applied at 100 % of FC. Both AFI and TFI had significantly higher (p ≤ 0.05) grain yield compared to SFFI at the irrigation level of I2. The interactive effect of irrigation level and method also had a significant effect (p ≤ 0.05) on maize yield. The uptakes of macronutrients (N, P, K, S, Ca, and Mg) and micronutrients (B, Zn, Fe, and Mn) by maize grain were not significantly different between AFI and TFI under I1. Irrigation level was the main driver for determining the patterns in grain yield but irrigation method controlled the patterns in CWP. The AFI technique resulted in higher CWP compared to TFI or SFFI. Results demonstrate that AFI is an effective water-saving technique, which can increase the CWP without a significant reduction in grain yield and nutrients uptake by maize grain. The AFI method in conjunction with a reduced amount of irrigation water can be adapted in the sub-tropical climates of South Asia where maize production in the dry season is heavily dependent on repeated irrigation with limited water supplies.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarker, Khokan Kumer & Hossain, Akbar & Timsina, Jagadish & Biswas, Sujit Kumar & Malone, Sparkle L. & Alam, Md. Khairul & Loescher, Henry W. & Bazzaz, Mahfuz, 2020. "Alternate furrow irrigation can maintain grain yield and nutrient content, and increase crop water productivity in dry season maize in sub-tropical climate of South Asia," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 238(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:238:y:2020:i:c:s037837741932387x
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2020.106229
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    References listed on IDEAS

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