Irrigation Management for Humid Regions


Drop line from a center pivot providing water to a minimal tillage cotton field.

Use of irrigation has been increasing across the humid areas of the Cotton Belt for the last 20 years. While there is a large collection of information for irrigation management related to cotton in arid regions, information specific to management under humid conditions is not as well developed. Therefore, the objective of this publication is to provide producers with an overview of the technologies available to schedule irrigation and key concepts related to water management for cotton grown in areas where rainfall provides a significant amount of the water requirements in most years.

This document is divided into nine sections that address a variety of topics including: the benefits of irrigation and why water management is important; cotton water requirements in humid areas; growth stages that are sensitive to water stress; and a review of tools for irrigation scheduling. An overview of different methods to deliver water to the field is also provided.

Irrigation water, if managed wisely, is an important tool to optimize productivity of the land and to ensure that no other inputs go to waste. Thus, it is an important tool that can be used in developing a sustainable crop management strategy. Granted, there is great competition from urban and industrial water users, even in the water-rich Mid-South and Southeast, but it is the authors’ hope that by using the knowledge presented here every drop of water applied to cotton will be used beneficially.


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