Assessing the impacts of irrigation termination periods on cotton productivity under strategic deficit irrigation regimes

Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 11;11(1):20102. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99472-w.

Abstract

Determining optimum irrigation termination periods for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) is crucial for efficient utilization and conservation of finite groundwater resources of the Ogallala Aquifer in the Texas High Plains (THP) region. The goal of this study was to suggest optimum irrigation termination periods for different Evapotranspiration (ET) replacement-based irrigation strategies to optimize cotton yield and irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) using the CROPGRO-Cotton model. We re-evaluated a previously evaluated CROPGRO-Cotton model using updated yield and in-season physiological data from 2017 to 2019 growing seasons from an IWUE experiment at Halfway, TX. The re-evaluated model was then used to study the effects of combinations of irrigation termination periods (between August 15 and September 30) and deficit/excess irrigation strategies (55%-115% ET-replacement) under dry, normal and wet years using weather data from 1978 to 2019. The 85% ET-replacement strategy was found ideal for optimizing irrigation water use and cotton yield, and the optimum irrigation termination period for this strategy was found to be the first week of September during dry and normal years, and the last week of August during wet years. Irrigation termination periods suggested in this study are useful for optimizing cotton production and IWUE under different levels of irrigation water availability.