Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Improving water use in growing corn possible, study shows

17.06.2002


Farmers growing corn in the mid-Atlantic region will have a new tool to help them identify appropriate cultural practices for the types of soils in their fields, thanks to research conducted by researchers from Virginia Tech and Colorado State University.


"Soils vary in their ability to hold water," said Mark Alley, professor of crop and soil environmental sciences at Virginia Tech. "If a farmer knows the water-use efficiency of the soils in his field, he has a very important clue on how to manage that field."

Alley developed a formula for accurately determining the water-use efficiency in typical soils in the region. The results of his research were published in the May-June edition of Agronomy Journal. Co-authors of the article are Jon Roygard, a Virginia Tech research associate, and Raj Khosla, assistant professor of soil and crop science at Colorado State University.

Water is the main limiting factor for non-irrigated corn production in the region. The article examines the relationship between no-till corn yields and soil water availability for the purpose of improving water-use efficiency.



Total rainfall in the mid-Atlantic region is generally adequate for corn production, Alley said, but the amount of rain falling on particular fields varies widely. Complicating the hit-or-miss pattern of rainfall is the fact that some soil types have a greater ability to hold water than others.

The research reported in the Agronomy Journal article measured the differences in captured precipitation, crop yields, water used by the corn crop, and water lost to drainage. The research was conducted during the 1998 and 1999 growing seasons in a geologic area near Fredericksburg, Va., known as the northern coastal plain of Virginia.

"Water lost to drainage and runoff is not only lost to the corn crop, but it can also decrease surface and groundwater quality by transporting nutrients and soil into these waters," Alley said. Soils with higher clay contents and greater capacities to retain water produced higher yields, had less runoff and drainage losses, and had higher water-use efficiencies than sandy soils with lower capacity to hold rainfall. The research showed that certain soils can have drainage losses during the growing season.

"These soils that can have drainage losses must either not be planted in corn, or they must be carefully managed," Alley said.

One appropriate method of managing such a field is by using no-till techniques. With no-till practices, farmers disturb the soil as little as possible when planting and tending their crops.

The data from the project provides the basis for computer models that can project the water-use efficiency of corn grown in many different situations in Virginia and surrounding states. Improving the efficiency of water use in corn production can influence the economic and environmental impact on hundreds of thousands of acres in the region, Alley said.


###
For additional information, contact Mark Alley, (540) 231-9777, malley@vt.edu. The article, "Soil Water Dynamics: No-Till Corn Yields and Water Balance in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain," appears in Agronomy Journal, 94:612-623, May-June 2002.

PR CONTACT: Stewart MacInnis (540) 231-5863 macinnis@vt.edu


Mark Alley | EurekAlert

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>