Deakin University
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Effects of three frequencies of irrigation and nitrogen rates on lint yield, nitrogen use efficiency and fibre quality of cotton under furrow irrigation

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-04-01, 00:00 authored by Carlos Ballester LurbeCarlos Ballester Lurbe, John HornbuckleJohn Hornbuckle, James Brinkhoff, Wendy QuayleWendy Quayle
Practical solutions to optimise nitrogen use efficiency within modern surface irrigated cotton systems in Australia may be possible by regulating the frequency of water and reducing the N applied, compared with typical current practises. A two-year study examined the effect of irrigating at three different water deficits that applied a similar total irrigation volume: >−60 kPa (HF), between −80 and −100 kPa (IF) and between −100 and −120 kPa (LF) for a period from initial flowering throughout boll development, in combination with different nitrogen fertiliser rates on the growth, yield, nitrogen use efficiency and lint quality of cotton. It was hypothesised that shorter deficits would increase N uptake, and nitrogen use efficiency compared with longer deficits caused by consistently higher soil water potentials in the root zone. The major effects of irrigation treatment on growth was to increase plant height and number of bolls, delay crop maturity and decrease micronaire. The irrigation strategy according to yield was most consistently optimised over both seasons when soil matric potential was maintained between −80 and −100 kPa (IF treatment). Lint yield was reduced by 9–13% when the irrigation deficit was <−100 kPa. The most efficient fertiliser use varied between the two years but was always lowest in the treatment with the highest deficit. Irrigation deficit did not change nitrogen uptake or internal nitrogen use efficiency. Nitrogen, even at rates substantially lower than typically used commercially, did not affect fibre quality. There was no interaction between irrigation strategy and N fertiliser rate on yield, fibre quality and fertiliser use efficiency.



Agricultural Water Management



Article number



Elsevier BV


Amsterdam, Netherlands







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2021, Elsevier B.V.