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 New parsley virus discovered by Braunschweig researchers
17.05.2019 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

nachricht Franco-German research initiative on low-pesticide agriculture in Europe
16.05.2019 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

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: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

Im Focus: Cost-effective and individualized advanced electronic packaging in small batches now available

Fraunhofer IZM is joining the EUROPRACTICE IC Service platform. Together, the partners are making fan-out wafer level packaging (FOWLP) for electronic devices available and affordable even in small batches – and thus of interest to research institutes, universities, and SMEs. Costs can be significantly reduced by up to ten customers implementing individual fan-out wafer level packaging for their ICs or other components on a multi-project wafer. The target group includes any organization that does not produce in large quantities, but requires prototypes.

Research always means trying things out and daring to do new things. Research institutes, universities, and SMEs do not produce in large batches, but rather...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Concert of magnetic moments

14.06.2019 | Information Technology

Materials informatics reveals new class of super-hard alloys

14.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

New imaging modality targets cholesterol in arterial plaque

14.06.2019 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>