The erratic rainfall pattern in sub Saharan Africa is a major threat to rainfed agriculture by consistently reducing yield due to water deficit and threatening food security. In order to address this problem, supplementary irrigation during the raining season is increasingly being encouraged to reduce water deficits during dry spells. The aim of this study is to design a supplementary irrigation for maize cropping during the raining season by using climatic data and water from surface runoff from a nearby catchment area. Climatic data for the study area was used to analyse the water requirement of maize during the rainy season and to propose an irrigation schedule. The results indicated that, out of 620.00 mm (3100 m3) water requirement for the entire growing cycle of maize on a 0.5 ha field, the supplementary irrigation water requirement represents more than a third of the water need of maize during periods of dry spell in the maize crop cycle. With a reservoir volume of 600.00 m3 and a net irrigation application of 60 mm (300 m3), about 5 irrigation applications (with a flow rate of 25.00 m3/hr for 6 hours a day) is required to supplement the irrigation water requirement of maize that can help alleviate soil moisture stress and increase crop yield during critical growth stages.
Cite this paper
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