Theme 2: Forage--Oral Sessions

Description

The production of fodder beet (Beta vulgaris L.) in New Zealand is concentrated in the South Island, and often requires irrigation to achieve high yields. Development of efficient irrigation management strategies requires information on the effect of timing and rate of irrigation on crop growth. A field study was conducted on a moderately deep soil at Chertsey, Canterbury, New Zealand, to evaluate crop growth responses to five irrigation managements: Rain-fed (control), weekly replacement of full evapotranspiration (FullET-weekly), and 50% of evapotranspiration replaced weekly (HalfET-weekly), fortnightly (HalfET-2weekly) or 3-weekly (HalfET-3weekly). Irrigation to replace ET was adjusted to account for rainfall received between irrigation events. The crop was sown on 11 October 2015. Dry matter (DM) and green leaf area index (LAI) were quantified at 4-weekly intervals from 21 December 2015 until 16 May 2016. Water use efficiency (WUE) was calculated from weekly time domain reflectometry and neutron probe measurements of volumetric soil water content (to 0.8 m depth) and crop biomass. Final yield was lowest for Rain-fed (17.1 t DM/ha) and highest for FullET-weekly (28.9 t DM/ha) treatments. The remaining treatments did not differ in yield, producing 22.4±1.6 t DM/ha, but differed significantly from the Rain-fed and FullET-weekly treatments. Yield differences were associated with the rate of leaf area expansion and duration of critical LAI values (≥ 3.0 m2/m2), which were greater for FullET-weekly than for other treatments. Rain-fed and FullET-weekly treatments resulted in the highest and lowest WUE (81 versus 47 kg DM/ha/mm). The remaining treatments did not differ in WUE, averaging 67±3.6 kg DM/ha/mm. Our results show yield benefits from irrigation, with the best outcome from FullET-weekly given the soil type and weather conditions. However, under water restriction conditions, the HalfET-3weekly management is recommended over more frequent partial ET replacements because it would reduce irrigation costs without penalising yield.

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Irrigation Management Strategies for Fodder Beet (Beta vulgaris L.) Crops

The production of fodder beet (Beta vulgaris L.) in New Zealand is concentrated in the South Island, and often requires irrigation to achieve high yields. Development of efficient irrigation management strategies requires information on the effect of timing and rate of irrigation on crop growth. A field study was conducted on a moderately deep soil at Chertsey, Canterbury, New Zealand, to evaluate crop growth responses to five irrigation managements: Rain-fed (control), weekly replacement of full evapotranspiration (FullET-weekly), and 50% of evapotranspiration replaced weekly (HalfET-weekly), fortnightly (HalfET-2weekly) or 3-weekly (HalfET-3weekly). Irrigation to replace ET was adjusted to account for rainfall received between irrigation events. The crop was sown on 11 October 2015. Dry matter (DM) and green leaf area index (LAI) were quantified at 4-weekly intervals from 21 December 2015 until 16 May 2016. Water use efficiency (WUE) was calculated from weekly time domain reflectometry and neutron probe measurements of volumetric soil water content (to 0.8 m depth) and crop biomass. Final yield was lowest for Rain-fed (17.1 t DM/ha) and highest for FullET-weekly (28.9 t DM/ha) treatments. The remaining treatments did not differ in yield, producing 22.4±1.6 t DM/ha, but differed significantly from the Rain-fed and FullET-weekly treatments. Yield differences were associated with the rate of leaf area expansion and duration of critical LAI values (≥ 3.0 m2/m2), which were greater for FullET-weekly than for other treatments. Rain-fed and FullET-weekly treatments resulted in the highest and lowest WUE (81 versus 47 kg DM/ha/mm). The remaining treatments did not differ in WUE, averaging 67±3.6 kg DM/ha/mm. Our results show yield benefits from irrigation, with the best outcome from FullET-weekly given the soil type and weather conditions. However, under water restriction conditions, the HalfET-3weekly management is recommended over more frequent partial ET replacements because it would reduce irrigation costs without penalising yield.