Efficiency of maize irrigation scheduling in climate variability and extreme weather events in eastern Croatia

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This study was conducted (2010–2012) to analyse the efficiency of irrigation scheduling in maize production based on soil moisture measurements (Watermark soil moisture sensors) in years with extreme weather events at the research site of the Agricultural Institute in Osijek, eastern Croatia. Three irrigation treatments and four maize hybrids were studied. In the extremely rainy 2010, the highest yield of maize grain was obtained in rainfed plots (control = 9.24 t ha−1). A significantly (P < 0.01) lower yield (−8%) was obtained in fully irrigated plots (a3 = 8.59 t ha−1). This was opposite to the results obtained from the extremely warm 2011 and very dry 2012, when grain yield was higher as the amount of irrigation water was increased. Maize grain yield in the fully irrigated plot was 25% (2011) and 40% (2012) higher compared with the control plots (dryland). According to our results, the main factor for irrigation efficiency in extreme weather conditions is to properly determine the optimum level for soil moisture sensors and ground water level in relation to root depth.

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