In this review we evaluated and compared outcomes of deficit irrigation strategies of maize in four Ogallala States: Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, and Texas from several recent studies. The studies were categorized by state, evaluating outcomes of different treatments by Grain Yield, Crop Evapotranspiration (ETc), Crop Water Use Efficiency, and Irrigated Water Use Efficiency.

By comparing this research in review, we were able to contextualize results within and amongst states as well as from year to year. We found varying success amongst different strategies. Overall, deficit irrigation strategies which avoided crop water stress at critical growth stages were effective in reducing water use while producing viable yields. In addition, deficit irrigation strategies tended to be more efficient when combined with best management practices (e.g. reduced tillage). Deficit irrigation tended to be less effective when reductions were decoupled from environmental factors that can impact ETc.

Publication: Rudnick, D.R., S. Irmak, C. West, J.L. Chávez, I. Kisekka, T.H. Marek, J.P. Schneekloth, D. Mitchell McCallister, V. Sharma, K. Djaman, J. Aguilar, M.E. Schipanski, D.H. Rogers, and A. Schlegel (2019). Deficit irrigation management of maize in the High Plains aquifer region: a review. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (55) 1: 38-​55.

This article is part of a JAWRA featured series: Optimizing Ogallala Aquifer Water Use to Sustain Food Systems. 

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