Project Summaries

11-987GA  Project Manager: E. M. Barnes


Calvin D. Perry, University of Gergia

Adequate water and nutrients are critical to achieving an optimal yield and with the limited water holding capacity of Georgia soils, ensuring that both needs are met throughout the season can be a challenge. Subsurface drip irrigation provides producers with new opportunities to "spoon" feed their crop; however, the actual benefits of this approach have not been evaluated for Georgia's soil and environmental conditions. Therefore, the objective of this project was to evaluate cotton yield and quality when fertilized via subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) versus conventional fertilization methods.

The study was conducted at two locations: Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla, GA; and at the Southeast Research and Education Center in Burke Co., GA. At the Stripling site there were two varieties that received nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) fertilizer both through a split application between at planting and via fertigation on July 18 in one treatment and on August 8 in the other. Two other treatments were: 100 lbs. of N and 70 lbs. of K were applied pre-planting and at 70 lbs. N and 40 lbs. K. The study in Burk was not planted until June 15 and contained three varieties. The fertilizer treatments were one at planting and one through fertigation.

At Stripling, the yields were quite acceptable (all over 1200 lbs. lint) but there were no significant differences between fertigation treatments (at the 0.05 level). Yield ranges and standard deviation values indicated less variation from the average for the 1740 variety. The residual soil nutrient levels were apparently underestimated and thus all the levels of fertilization were adequate for plant growth. Also, the 18+ inches of rainfall likely helped mask the fertigation treatment effects. More seasons of data will be needed to make better conclusions regarding effectiveness of fertigating cotton via SDI. From this work in Burk Co., the benefit of late-bloom fertigation does not likely have significant impact on yield. However, planting date at this location in both years was late (June 15th) and an earlier planting date may allow the plant more time to utilize the increased level of fertility. Like Stripling Park, more seasons of data will be needed to better understand effectiveness of fertigating cotton via SDI.


Project Year: 2012

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