Furrow diking improves water capture in row crops. This tillage operation helps capture more rainfall by reducing runoff up to 300%. The Southeast receives an average annual rainfall of 50 inches; we are making attempts to take better advantage of this valuable resource.
Research at the USDA-ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, GA has shown increased water savings, yield, and economic returns in peanut, corn, and cotton by using furrow dikes. This tillage operation creates a series of basins and dams in the furrow between crop rows to help capture water.
The equipment necessary for furrow diking is not expensive and can be attached to common cultivation equipment. In corn and cotton, furrow diked crops required 1 to 5 fewer irrigation events to produce equal or greater yield.
In rainfall simulation studies, furrow diking captured 7 days of plant available water compared to 4 days in non-diked treatments with equal rainfall.
Furrow diking improved irrigated corn yield by 21 bu/A and non-irrigated corn yield by 8 bu/A. Non-irrigated cotton yield in 2006 was improved up to 58% and net return of irrigated cotton was improved by up to $170/A. Irrigation requirements in furrow diked peanuts were reduced by 1/3 and did not reduce yield at 4800 lb/A.
For more information, contact Russell Nuti.