Determination of water use efficiency for forage legumes in Southern Alberta with emphasis on dryland and irrigated alfalfa cultivars
Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Field studies were conducted at Lethbridge and Picture Butte in 2012 and 2013 to determine the effects of irrigation water application levels on the dry matter yield, water use efficiency (WUE) and forage quality of irrigated and dryland type alfalfa cultivars. These studies indicated that: 1) Alfalfa cultivars developed for irrigated areas could be irrigated at 75% of the volume applied to the optimal treatment, with 40% depletion of available water at the root zone without incurring drastic yield loss; 2) Both the irrigated and dryland alfalfa cultivars can be irrigated at 75% of the volume of water applied to the optimal treatment, with 40% depletion of available water within 60 - 90% of the root zone with a greater prospect of optimizing WUE of these cultivars under southern Alberta growing conditions; and 3) The height of alfalfa and stage of maturity at the time of harvest affects alfalfa nutritional quality.
water use efficiency