Irrigation Management Procedures to Maximize Production of Alfalfa Populations Selected for Increased Performance Under Deficit Levels of Irrigation
Availability and cost of irrigation water is a major consideration in crop production in most arid and semi-arid parts of the world. This study was conducted to evaluate selected populations of alfalfa (Medicaqo sativa L., for increased performance with deficit levels of irrigation and to determine the effects of irrigation rates and sequences on forage yield and performance of these selected populations.
Selection for increased performance under deficit levels of irrigation increased yield under all irrigation treatments. Forage yields obtained with 20 inches of annual irrigation were reduced approximately 40-45 percent as compared to 40 or 60 inches of irrigation annually. Yields from 40 and 60 inch rates of irrigation were similar with a higher stand density at the end of the third production year in the 40 inch plots. Yields from the early and spread irrigation sequences were similar and indicated that no yield advantage was obtained from the early season applications of irrigation water. However, modifications of seasonal yield patterns, and possible labor savings due to harvest costs, should be investigated further by economic analysis.