Irrigation of field crops traditionally was centralized in arid regions of the United States. Over time, the benefits of irrigation over dryland production systems in humid regions were realized and resulted in a 534 percent increase in irrigated acreage in Louisiana alone since 1959.
Acreage of crops that require irrigation to stabilize yield, such as corn and soybeans, also have increased in recent years, resulting in an increased need for supplemental irrigation during critical growth periods. Adding irrigation capacity to any agronomic production system is a large financial investment, which includes upfront costs for equipment and installation and ongoing costs such as fuel, maintenance and labor.
It is critical to strive for high levels of irrigation efficiency to continue to have sustainable and profitable water resource applications. Irrigation scheduling using the soil water balance or through direct measurements of soil moisture are two strategies for efficient irrigation.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture