Benefits of Irrigation in Humid Areas
By Edward M. Barnes, Ph.D.
Director, Agricultural and Environmental Research
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When irrigation is precisely management in humid areas, it can provide many benefits to the producer and society as a whole. Irrigation allows producers to maximize yields by eliminating water stress, and just as importantly, minimize risk by having more consistent yields from year to year. While it will not be of benefit every year, long term data in the mid-south shows irrigation general results in an average yield increase above non-irrigated conditions of 200 pounds of fiber per acre. Irrigation can also improve the overall sustainability of a production system by maintaining high land productivity in drought years and making sure the early season investments of seed and fertilizer are not lost due to crop failure. Water is becoming a more limited resource, even in the mid-south and southeastern parts of the Cottonbelt; however, due to careful management and proper use of the latest technologies, it is being put to good use to feed and clothe the world.