In water-scarce regions, high yield and improved water use efficiency (WUE) of crops can be obtained if water and nitrogen (N) are properly applied. While water and N have been the subject of research worldwide, studies are needed to advance our understanding on the complexity of their interaction. A field experiment was conducted at the University of Wyoming Powell Research and Extension Center in 2014 and 2015 growing seasons to determine the effect of irrigation water and N on growth, dry matter (DM) yield, and WUE of silage corn (Zea mays L.) grown under on-surface drip irrigation (ODI). The experiment was laid out as a randomized complete block design in split-plot arrangement with three replications. Irrigation was the main treatment and included 100ETc (100% crop evapotranspiration), 80ETc, and 60ETc. Nitrogen was the sub-treatment and included 0, 90, 180, 270, and 360 kg N ha−1 as urea-ammonium-nitrate solution Results showed that irrigation water, N, and application timing significantly affected growth and DM yield, especially at late vegetative and mid reproductive growth stages. At harvest (R4), no significant difference was observed between 180 kg N ha−1 and 270 kg N ha−1 on DM yield and WUE. However, significant differences of DM yield were observed between irrigation treatments, and 100ETc and 80ETc did not differ in WUE. Our findings suggest that 100ETc and 180 kg N ha−1 is the best combination for high yielding corn for silage grown in a semi-arid climate under ODI.
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Acknowledgments: This project was supported by the Department of Plant Sciences and the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station. Thanks are given to the field and laboratory assistants of the Research and Extension Center located in Powell, Wyoming, USA.
- Drip irrigation
- Forage corn
- Nitrogen use
- Water use efficiency