Sizable investments have been made and continue to be made throughout the world to develop irrigation potentials. Recent food shortages have heightened the concern for obtaining greater returns to irrigation through improved water management and use. A knowledge of how plant growth cycles relate to moisture and salinity levels in the root zone is prerequisite to developing practical ways of maintaining optimum conditions for maximum production per unit of water concerned. This research further defines the role of irrigation timing and salinity management on crop production, and proposes practical techniques for predicting the crop response to management measures. Some of the advantages and special features of the research program outlined by the report are listed as follows: 1. The experimental design is unique in that a sprinkler line is used as a single source of water. This approach provides large volumes of yield data as influenced by water supplies available to the crop. These data will provide information on the following: a. Accurate evaluation of the basic water requirements of crops. b. The optimal sequencing of deficits during crop growth stages. c. The establishment of yield versus evapotranspiration relationships over the entire range of wter supply from rainfall (dryland) to over-irrigation. d. An evaluation of soil water holding capacities in terms of its contributions to the water needs of the crop. This information provides guidance on how to best utilize the root system of a given crop type as a water gathering tool in terms of time during the growing season. For example, planting date, plant spacing, and fertilizer practices will be influenced by this information. 2. The experimental layout is versatile in that it lends itself to a study of the effects on plant growth of input parameters other than water, such as fertility levels and plant spacing. 3. The design can be readily adapted to accommodate several varieties and/or species in the same experiment. 4. The research results are practical and generally applicable to a wide range of crop, climate, soil, and water supply (non site specific and site specific) conditions. 5. The research provides a clear demonstration (both visual and quantitative) of the beneficial effects of proper management practices on crop production. 6. The research deals with both domestic and international water problems involving crop production, namely, the influence of available soil measure and soil salinity on plant yields. 7. The research techniques are readily adaptable to application in developing countries. a. A sprinkler system for irrigation is not necessary though desireable. b. The research procedures are simple, inexpensive, easy to perform, and yet provide much information. 8. The research involves the join efforts of several institutions and utilizes highly experienced research principal investigators who have a proven record of effectively working together as an integrated team. 9. The validity of the research approach and the viability of the results have been demonstrated by current research. The main tasks remaining are to broaden the crop base and to test and demonstrate the applicability of the results to other areas throughout the world.
Stewart, J. I.; Hagan, R. M.; Pruitt, W. O.; Danielson, R. E.; Franklin, W. T.; Hanks, R. J.; Riley, J. P.; and Jackson, E. B., "Optimizing crop production through control of water and salinity levels in the soil" (1977). Reports. Paper 67.