EFFECTS OF IRRIGATION SCHEDULES ON GROWTH, YIELD AND WATER USE EFFICIENCY OF MAIZE IN MAIDUGURI, SEMI-ARID NIGERIA
Publication Date : 17/01/2023
The demand for Maize grain as human food, feed for livestock and in the production of biofuel is on the increase. These demands are putting pressure on scarce water resources. Two field experiments were conducted in the 2014 and 2015 dry seasons to investigate the effect of irrigation schedules for maize production on sandy-loam soils of semi-arid Nigeria. The experiments consisted of irrigation scheduling at three levels: fixed irrigation interval (7 days), soil moisture-based schedule using tensiometer and climate-based schedule based on the ratio of irrigation amount to cumulative pan evaporation of 1 (1.0 IW/CPE) set up in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Growth and yield parameters were recorded and subjected to Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The crop water use and irrigation water use efficiencies were evaluated. The results of the growth and yield were significantly affected by irrigation schedules in both growing seasons. Schedule using tensiometer and the ratio of irrigation amount to cumulative pan evaporation methods that resulted in 4 days irrigation interval performed better compared to the fixed interval of 7 days, with significantly higher yields of 4637 and 4603 kg/ha, respectively and water use efficiencies of 0.77 kg/m3 compared to the yield of 2296 kg/ha and water use efficiency of 0.67 kg/m3 obtained using the fixed irrigation interval of 7 days. The higher irrigation frequency creates a favourable soil moisture condition in the root zone of plants which resulted in improved crop performance in terms of growth, yield and crop water use efficiency. It can be concluded that the soil moisture and climate-based schedules that resulted in 4 days irrigation interval are the most economically viable alternative for improved maize yield, higher water savings and water use efficiency in the semi-arid environment.
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