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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 75 No. 3, p. 461-464
    Received: Feb 4, 1982

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Alfalfa Responses to Irrigation Treatment and Environment1

  1. T. J. Donovan and
  2. B. D. Meek2



Water management is critical for maximum production of alfalfa (Medicago saliva L.) with under irrigation resulting in loss of production and over irrigation resulting in a loss of stand. The purpose of this study was to determine the optimum irrigation rates under high evaporative demand. Growth of alfalfa was evaluated on replicated plots (6 ✕ 6 m) established on a fine textured soil (Typic Torrifluvent, clayey over loamy, montmorillonitic, calcareous hyperthermic family) and differentially irrigated from July 1975 to January 1978. The irrigation treatments were applied at 56, 66, 75 (best estimate of Ep and 84% of pan evaporation (Ep) and described as dry, semidry, optimum and wet, respectively. Alfalfa yields increased with increase in water applied. Irrigation at 84% Ep for leaching did not enhance yield over the optimum water treatment possibly because of reduced stand from waterlogging. The protein concentration of alfalfa was higher in dry than in wet treatments in March and November. During the summer, plant temperatures in the dry treatment were up to 7 C higher than in the wet treatment.

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