Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Committee Chair(s)

H. B. Peterson


H. B. Peterson


Sterling A. Taylor


Corn occupies from 25 to 30 percent of the crop land harvested in the United States. In recent years the acreage devoted to corn in this country has been decidedly greater than that devoted to any other cultivated crop. In 1944 its dollar value exceeded the combined values of wheat, barley, rye, grain sorghums, and cotton.

Although South Dakota lies on the northwestern fringe of the corn belt, the corn crop is one of the most important in that state. Corn production in that area is somewhat unstable because of drought. Corn often fails to reach full maturity before the first frost in the fall. This is particularly true when frost comes unseasonably early.

An irrigation project has been proposed for the James River Basin Area of South Dakota. It is a part of the Missouri River Basin Development Project. The introduction of irrigation into this area can somewhat lessen the dangers of drought and early frost. Moisture requirements of the corn crop can be met by proper water applications. In this way the threat of crop failure as a result of drought can be reduced. The corn maturity can be hastened through correct land management and irrigation practices, thus alleviating the danger of early frost.

Very little information is available regarding the management of corn grown under irrigation in the Northern Great Plains Region. The problems associated with corn production are peculiar to that area. More complete information is needed concerning the specific needs of the corn crop in the James River Basin.

The work reported here shows some of the relationships between the development and growth of corn and soil moisture supply. The objectives of the study were twofold: to determine the periods of corn development in which abundant moisture is most critical, and to determine the effects of a limited moisture supply at various growth stages upon the development and production of hybrid corn. The results of field and greenhouse studies are reported.