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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Corn Response to Irrigation on Surface-Mined Land in Western Illinois1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 3, p. 411-414
    Received: June 29, 1981

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  1. R. E. Dunker,
  2. I. J. Jansen and
  3. M. D. Thorne2



Moisture stress is one of the major yield limiting factors for row crops grown in the field on newly constructed mine soils. Response of corn (Zea mays L.) to irrigation on recently constructed mine soils in west-central Illinois was studied over a two-year period to determine the feasibility of utilizing water from surface-mine lakes for irrigation of row-crops on reclaimed land.

Two constructed soils, one with 45 cm of topsoil replaced on wheel spoil and one consisting of wheel spoil only, were studied. Both soils are Typic Udorthents. A lake formed in an abandoned mine incline supplied water to a solid-set overhead revolving impact sprinkler system, randomly placed within each soil treatment which applied 3.8 cm of water each week to the irrigated treatment until physiological maturity.

Irrigation significantly increased corn yield in 1979 by 2,260 kg/ha for topsoil over wheel spoil and 2,630 kg/ha for wheel spoil only. The weather pattern in 1980 was distinctly different than in 1979 with severe stress during anthesis in 1980. Corn yield response to irrigation in 1980 ranged from 3,450 kg/ha to 6,030 kg/ha among soil treatments. Topsoil replacement resulted in significant yield increases with irrigation in both years. Without irrigation topsoil replacement resulted in a yield increase in 1979 and a yield reduction in 1980.

The data suggest that corn will perform well under favorable moisture conditions on newly constructed soils but is quite sensitive to moisture stress. Yields can be increased by irrigation using good quality water from surface mine lakes to alleviate this moisture stress.

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