Assessing physiological response to drought and evaluating water use-efficient irrigation scheduling for cotton grown in georgia
Meeks, Calvin Douglas
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Cotton irrigated acreage is predicted to increase 89 percent in Georgia by 2050. Research was conducted to 1) define early season soil-moisture thresholds for improving irrigation management 2) evaluate agronomic and physiological effects of plant–based irrigation thresholds in combination with high biomass rye cover crops and 3) assess physiological effects of various early season drought durations on multiple modern cotton cultivars in a greenhouse setting. Field experiments were conducted at Stripling Irrigation Research Park (SIRP) near Camilla, GA in 2014 and 2015, at the Lang-Rigdon Research Farm near Tifton, GA during 2014 and 2015, and in greenhouses on the UGA campuses near Athens in 2014 and near Tifton in 2016. The studies reported on in the current dissertation 1) define soil moisture-based irrigation thresholds that decreased early season water use without penalizing yield, 2) demonstrate increased water potential for cotton planted into a high biomass rye cover crop but did not demonstrate a yield or water use benefit, and 3) identify the overriding physiological factors contributing to poor early season growth under drought.