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Estimation of water consumption of maize under climatic conditions of middle Iraq
Jamal Naser Abdel al rahman Alsadoon1, Haidar Abd al Mahdi Kadim2 and Mustafa Iskander Zaid Al-Wardy2
1       Wasit University / College of Agriculture; [email protected].
2       Wasit Agriculture Directorate; [email protected].
* Correspondence: [email protected].
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The field experiment was conducted in season 2018 in central Kut district in Wasit Province, Iraq, with four treatments and three replicates in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) to evaluate the response of maize to different irrigation levels irrigated by basin-irrigation method. Irrigation water was applied as 50%, 75%, 100%, and 125% of evaporation from a Class A Pan. The results indicated that the highest ETc, total ETa and grain yield were found in 125% Epan (716.7 mm, 799.2 mm and 9.600 t. ha-1), respectively. At the same time, the lowest was found in 50% Epan. The highest water use efficiency (WUE) was found in the Irrigation level (75% Epan) at (1.402 kg. m-3), and the lowest was found in the irrigation level (125% Epan) at (1.202 kg. m-3).
Keywords: Irrigation levels, Ep%, ET, water consumption, grain yield and WUE of maize.

The irrigation studies have made outstanding achievements in improving water efficiency and ensuring food security but still have great potential for improving water use efficiency in many field crops 6. Water is one of the most critical factors affecting crop production and its movement through the soil-plant-atmosphere 13. Water is an essential natural resource, and its increasing scarcity has led to concerns for its efficient use, management, and sustainability 8 When irrigation is required, there are many available methods and management strategies. The selection of the process and approach depends on factors such as water availability, crop type, soil characteristics, land topography, and associated cost 12. Water shortage is one of the main constraints for economic development in arid and semi-arid areas. However, these areas must promote public awareness regarding water-saving measures to develop the social sustainability and extension of newly cultivated areas 10. Water scarcity and drought are the major factors constraining agricultural crop production in arid and semi-arid zones of the world. Irrigation is today the primary consumer of fresh water on earth. Therefore, innovations for saving water in irrigated agriculture and improving water use efficiency are paramount in water-scarce regions 21. Scientists worldwide look to studies correlated to water use efficiency (WUE), an important measure that shows the relationship between the unit of dry matter produced and the unit of water used. Thus, water use efficiency (WUE) is one way to analyze crops' response to different conditions of water availability as it relates to the production of dry biomass or commercial production with the amount of water applied by Evapotranspiration or by culture 14. Evapotranspiration (E.T.) is the combination of two different processes where water is lost from the soil surface, and the surface leaves by evaporation and from plants by transpiration. 19. The crop coefficient (Kc) is defined as the ratio between the actual crop evapotranspiration (ETa) and the reference evapotranspiration (ET0). 5. indicated a linear relationship between grain yield of maize and seasonal irrigation water amount. Maize (Zea mays L.) is the world's third most important cereal crop after wheat and rice 4. Maize requires 600-700 mm of water for optimum growth and yield, depending upon climatic conditions. 11.
The objectives of this study are to determine the effect of irrigation levels during the growing season on the production of maize and evaluate the water use efficiency of basin-irrigated hybrid corn planted in the area of Iraq.


Experimental site
A field experiment with basin-irrigated maize was conducted in the central Kut Nursery, Wasit Agriculture Directorate season 2018, under ecological conditions of Kut district in Wasit Province, Iraq. Soil samples were taken with a drill from soil layers of 0 – 10, 10-20, 20-30 and 30-40 cm to determine the experimental field's selected chemical and physical properties; 17 are summarized in (Table 1). Moreover, some valuable climatic data from the practical site was obtained from the Iraq Agrometeorological Network, Kut station. (Table 2).

Table 1. Chemical and physical characteristics.

Table 2. Climate data of the season 2018 for the Iraq Agrometeorological Network, Kut station.

Experimental design and treatments
The experiments were conducted using a randomized complete block design with three replications; the area of each plot was 6 m2. The irrigation treatments considered in the study were basin irrigation equivalent to 50% (I1), 75% (I2), 100% (I3) and 125% (I4) of evaporation from a Class A Pan (Epan).

Agronomic practices
The maize hybrid (kalimeras) was planted at a spacing of 0.25 m × 0.75 m on 5 August 2018. All treatment plots received the same amount of fertilizer application at rates of 300 kg.ha-1 DAP (Di Amino Phosphate, 18:46:0), which were applied uniformly to the field before planting, and this was followed by 320 kg.ha-1 in the form of urea (46% N), which was applied in banding along the rows on two doses, first when six leaves appear and second after 30 days of the first dose.
Weeding was done manually when required to save undue losses of nutrients and soil moisture. The harvest on 20 November 2018, random samples of five guarded plants for each experimental unit were taken. Grain yield (G.Y.) was determined per each experimental unit and then converted to G.Y. t. ha-1.

Irrigation practices and methodology
Water was applied to all irrigation treatment plots simultaneously using a basin irrigation method. Irrigation intervals were determined according to evaporation from a Class A Pan. after that, irrigation treatment was started according to the prescribed irrigation rates and the irrigation water requirement to each plot during the entire growing season was calculated by using the following equation 2:
V= a × d ------------- (1)
where: V= Volume of added irrigation water (m3), a = Area of experimental unit (m2), d= Irrigation depth (mm), equal to the depth of evaporated water from the evaporation pan (Ep).
The time of irrigation is calculated by using the following equation (2):
t= a d / Q -------------(2)
where: t= Irrigation time (h), Q= Discharge irrigation water (m3. h-1).
Reference evapotranspiration (ET0) was determined from an evaporation pan (class A pan) installed near the research site to record daily evaporation pan computed by following equation (5):
ET0 = Kp × Epan ------------- (3)
Where: Epan is evaporation from the class A pan (mm. day-1), and Kp is the pan evaporation coefficient.
The pan evaporation method measures the evaporation from the open water surface, considering the cumulative effect of radiation, wind, humidity and temperature. The applied irrigation water amount was calculated based on the depth of evaporated water from the evaporation pan (d) according to equation (1), the actual Evapotranspiration (ETa) was calculated by using the reference evapotranspiration (ET0) and the crop coefficient (Kc), according to equation (4)
Where: ETa: actual Evapotranspiration (mm. day-1), Kc crop coefficient.
The Kc values of maize used (0.5, 1.25, 1.35, and 0.86, at the germination, vegetative growth, flowering and maturity stages, respectively) (6).   
Water use efficiency (WUE) was computed as the ratio of maize grain yield to the volume of added water according to the following equation (21):
WUE = Y / W ----------- (5)
Where: Y: total grains yield (kg. ha-1), W:  volume of added water (m3. ha-1).

Statistical analysis
The data analysis were performed using the GenStat program, and mean comparison was carried out by using the least significant difference (LSD) test at probability levels of 0.05.
The results illustrated in (Table 3) showed the effect of irrigation levels under the basin irrigation method on crop evapotranspiration (ETc) of maize; the highest ETc value was (716.2 mm) observed when using 125 % of evaporation from a Class A Pan. Meanwhile, the lowest value was (381.8 mm) obtained with 50% evaporation from a Class A Pan under basin irrigation method. Similar findings are reported by (3).
Data in Table (3) indicated the effect of irrigation levels on actual Evapotranspiration (ETa) of maize crops. Results illustrated that the highest ETa value was (798.7 mm) observed when using 125 % of evaporation from a Class A Pan. While the lowest value was (464.3 mm) obtained with 50% of evaporation from a Class A Pan. A similar result was concluded by (7) and (20).  
Irrigation levels significantly affected maize crops' grain yield (Table 4). Maximum grain yield (9.600 t. ha-1) was obtained when irrigation was applied at 125% of evaporation from a Class A Pan. Minimum grain yield (6.440 t. ha-1) at 50 % of evaporation from a Class A Pan. Similar results have been reported by (7) and (18).   
Water use efficiency (WUE) was affected by different irrigation levels (Table 4). Highest and lowest water use efficiency of irrigation levels I2 and I4 (1.402 kg. m-3) and (1.202 kg. m-3) respectively. These results agree with those of (1) and (16).

Table 3. Effect of irrigation levels on the average ETC and ETa of maize during the season 2018.   

Table 4. Effect of irrigation levels on the average grain yield, WUE of maize during the season 2018.

This study evaluated the effects of irrigation levels and strategies on the yield of the basin-irrigated maize crop planted under climatic conditions in middle Iraq in 2018.
Irrigation levels had a statistically significant impact on the grain yield, E.T. and WUE. Applying the correct amount of water is critical for crops sensitive to water stress. Therefore, the total amount of water applied to plants during the growing period was necessary 15. Furthermore, the linear relationship existed between seasonal water use and grain yield, and the declines in dry matter and grain yields could be attributed to an increased soil water deficit 20.
Decreased irrigation amounts applied in deficit irrigation treatments. Consequently, relative yield reduction 7. On the other hand, the WUE values increased with the decreasing seasonal irrigation amounts or seasonal water use 18. Hence, higher water use efficiency values were observed under water stress treatment as compared to regular irrigation, as shown in Tables ( 3 and 4). Eissa et al. (2017) explained that the increase in irrigation water to 100% of the water requirement increased the plant growth nutrients uptake, leading to increased grain yield of maize22,23.


Based on the results of this research, It can be concluded that the (ETc) was (381.8, 493.0, 604.6 and 716.2 mm). At the same time, the total (ETa) was (464.3, 575.5, 687.1 and 798.7 mm) for irrigation levels (50%, 75%, 100% and 125% of Epan), respectively. This study evaluated the effect of different seasonal irrigation amounts on maize evapotranspiration, grain yield and crop water use efficiency; on the other hand, irrigation levels of 100% and 125% of Epan gave the highest grain yield as about (9.420 and 9.600 t. ha-1), respectively The highest water use efficiency (WUE) was 1.402 kg.m-3 at 75% of Epan. This research indicated that irrigation with 100% and 125% of class A pan evaporation by a basin irrigation method would be optimal under adequate water source conditions.

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Received: 25 June 2023/ Accepted: 26 August 2023 / Published:15 September 2023
Citation:  Jamal A.;  Haidar K .; Mustafa A.  Estimation of water consumption of maize under climatic conditions of middle Iraq. Revis Bionatura 2023;8 (3) 129
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