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Irrigation FAQs

How much yield benefit do we get from irrigation in Mississippi?

Any yield response depends on the management and timeliness of the irrigation. The following table displays accepted yield data for the major irrigated crops in Mississippi.

Accepted Yield Responses By Crop

Cotton 180 pounds of lint
Corn 50 to 180 (Average MS Yield is 90 bushels.)
Soybeans 15 bushels.
Grain Sorghum No good data.


How much water does it take for different irrigation systems?

Furrow--A minimum of 10 GPM per acre.

Flood--(Rice), 15-20 GPM per acre.

Border--A minimum of 10 GPM per acre.

Center Pivots--A minumum of 4.5 GPM per acre to put out a gross of 1 inch in 4 days.
(Many producers are upsizing to put out an inch in 3 days or 6.25 GPM per acre).

Towable Privots and Traveling Guns--A minumum of 5 GPM per acre total to by irrigated.

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How many acres of Mississippi crops are irrigated?

(This will vary from year to year)

Cotton 300,000 acres
Soybeans 350,000 acres
Corn 200,000 acres
Rice 250,000 acres
Other Crops 100,000 acres


When do you start to irrigate?

When you feel like an inch of rain would do some good and when soil moisture in the root profile reaches 50 percent depletion.

The critical stages for the different crops are:


Cotton Beginning bloom
Corn Eight leaf stage and very critical at tassel and silk
Soybeans Beginning bloom
Grain Sorghum Boot stage
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Publication Number: F0810
Publication Number: P2338
Publication Number: P1551


Filed Under: Agriculture, Irrigation February 15, 2018

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Agricultural professionals, educators and service providers are invited to attend a training session on irrigation, water management and related technologies.

Two identical sessions will be offered. The first is March 6 at the Small Farm Training Center in Carriere. The second is March 7 at Jumpertown High School in Booneville.

Topics include production of specialty crops on small farms and application of federally funded cost-share programs and technical assistance for small farms.

Alternating wet and dry rice production systems allow rice fields to dry to several inches below the surface before adding more water. Research shows such fields maintain yields while cutting water use dramatically. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Lee Atwill)
Filed Under: Rice, Irrigation March 28, 2017

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Alternating wet and dry production is a radical new way to grow rice, and some Mississippi producers are finding the idea not only seems feasible in theory, but also works well in practice.

Jason Krutz is an irrigation specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. He said the technique, known as AWD, grows rice without standing water, which reduces water use by about a third while also maintaining yields.

This is a tailwater recovery system on a row-crop farm in the Mississippi Delta. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
Filed Under: Irrigation, Water February 17, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With spring around the corner, gardeners and farmers are beginning to plan for the upcoming planting and growing seasons.

One important way to ensure success during the Mississippi growing season is to have a plan for irrigation. Water keeps plants alive during the hot Mississippi summers, so irrigation is often vital during times of limited rainfall.

Filed Under: Irrigation, Soybeans September 8, 2016

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Dry September weather has Mississippi soybean producers on opposite ends of the irrigation spectrum: Some are done, while others want to water one more time.

Jason Krutz, irrigation specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, has a question for them: What do the soil moisture sensors say?

Jason Krutz, Mississippi State University Extension Service irrigation specialist, spoke Dec. 15, 2015, at the Delta Sustainable Water Resources Task Force in Stoneville, Mississippi. He reported on the success of efforts to increase irrigation efficiency while not reducing crop yields. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bonnie Coblentz)
Filed Under: Irrigation December 18, 2015

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- About 190 people gathered Tuesday to focus on water use and conservation, a showing that demonstrates just how important this topic is to the Delta and state.

The Delta Sustainable Water Resources Task Force convened the 2015 Mississippi Delta Irrigation Summit in Stoneville. The event drew farmers, consultants, industry suppliers, university researchers, Extension agents and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials from Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana.

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