Water Management Study

2017 Southern Illinois Soybean Water Management Study - Drip-Irrigation

  • Southern IL

The purpose of this study is to determine the yield differences between no drainage or irrigation and three other water management systems: 30 ft. tile drainage, 30 ft. tile drainage plus drip-fertigation, and drip-fertigation alone with no tile drainage.


This season brought on a different weather pattern for our water management study when compared to 2016. Initially planted on April 20, this drip study had to be replanted on May 16 due to excessive rain that occurred in late April. We were able to replant into good seedbed conditions and the rest of the season was dry with the exception of some rain in July.

With the dry conditions, we expected the irrigated treatments to stand out this year, which they did as evident in the results. One other change that was made to this study in 2017 was that we added late-season fertilizer after pulling tissue samples and discovering that we were low on potassium. Because of this, we added liquid fertilizer to the system, making it fertigation instead of simply water. As the results show, the drip treatments had a substantial gain over drainage alone. In 2016, the tile drainage portion held the advantage due to the wet start to the season and late season rainfall. With that said, both the drip and tile drainage systems have shown large gains over the last two years, with the biggest advantage coming from the combination of tile and drip-fertigation.





Planted 5/16/2017 | Harvested 10/3/2017 | Population 34,000 Seeds/A. | Row Width 30 in. | Previous Crop Soybeans | Tillage Fall: Vertical-Till/In-Line Rip, Spring: Vertical-Till | Herbicides Burndown: 3 pt. Gramoxone®, 4 oz. Metribuzin Pre: 3.5 oz. Corvus®, 1 qt. Atrazine, 1 qt. Roundup PowerMAX® | Insecticides 4.4 lb. Force® 3G, Escalate | Starter 10 gal. 28-0-0 2x2 | Total Nitrogen 190 Units as UAN | Soil Type Cisne (Silt Loam) | Soil Test Values pH 6.1, O.M. % 2.1, CEC 6.6 | Percent Base Saturation Ca 64.3, Mg 14.5, K 3.1, H 18.2 | Parts Per Million P 25, K 79, S 5, Zn 1.4, Mn 37, B 0.2


*®XL, Optimum, and AcreMax are registered trademarks of Pioneer. XL® brand seed is distributed by Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Inc.