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Irrigation Scheduling for Maize and Indian-mustard based on Daily Crop Water Requirement in a Semi- Arid Region

Authors: Vijay Shankar, C.S.P. Ojha, K.S. Hari Prasad


Maize and Indian mustard are significant crops in semi-arid climate zones of India. Improved water management requires precise scheduling of irrigation, which in turn requires an accurate computation of daily crop evapotranspiration (ETc). Daily crop evapotranspiration comes as a product of reference evapotranspiration (ET0) and the growth stage specific crop coefficients modified for daily variation. The first objective of present study is to develop crop coefficients Kc for Maize and Indian mustard. The estimated values of Kc for maize at the four crop growth stages (initial, development, mid-season, and late season) are 0.55, 1.08, 1.25, and 0.75, respectively, and for Indian mustard the Kc values at the four growth stages are 0.3, 0.6, 1.12, and 0.35, respectively. The second objective of the study is to compute daily crop evapotranspiration from ET0 and crop coefficients. Average daily ETc of maize varied from about 2.5 mm/d in the early growing period to > 6.5 mm/d at mid season. The peak ETc of maize is 8.3 mm/d and it occurred 64 days after sowing at the reproductive growth stage when leaf area index was 4.54. In the case of Indian mustard, average ETc is 1 mm/d at the initial stage, >1.8 mm/d at mid season and achieves a peak value of 2.12 mm/d on 56 days after sowing. Improved schedules of irrigation have been simulated based on daily crop evapo-transpiration and field measured data. Simulation shows a close match between modeled and field moisture status prevalent during crop season.

Keywords: Irrigation Scheduling, crop evapotranspiration, crop coefficient, Field moisture

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