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Agriculture Impact: University of Delaware Irrigation Research Team


Delaware farmers continue to install and utilize irrigation in an effort to alleviate drought stress and increase yields.  Over 25% of Delaware’s tillable acres are now irrigated and has increased substantially over the past 3 years.  Soybeans are the second most planted crop in Delaware behind corn.  Irrigation research is typically conducted in the semi-arid Southwest U.S.  Research concerned with increasing soybean yield under irrigation in the Mid-Atlantic region is very limited.


A grant from the Delaware Soybean Board was awarded to the University of Delaware Irrigation Research Team (Cory Whaley, James Adkins, and Phillip Sylvester).   The research evaluated the effects of various soil moisture levels in various row widths in soybeans.  Plots were planted in May and June of 2012 in various row widths.  The plots were irrigated with a variable rate irrigation system in Harbeson, DE according to soil moisture levels.  The soil moisture levels were logged using soil moisture sensing equipment.  Treatments included no irrigation to full irrigation throughout the growing season.  Notes were taken throughout the growing season and the plots were harvested in October.


While this is only the first year of the project, yields did vary among the plots.  The results were disseminated to a group of farmers during Delaware Agriculture Week in January 2013.  As the second year of the project begins in May, the results from the project may have significant impact for growers in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Credit to: Phillip Sylvester June 2013