Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) was first commercialized in the 1960's and now accounts for over 50 percent of the irrigation of horticultural and speciality crops. It is gaining popularity in some row crops, such as cotton in California and west Texas where water supplies are under increasing pressure.

In irrigated corn, SDI has yet to become as popular. However, recent water use restrictions and drought and fertilizer run-off concerns have renewed interest in SDI as a more efficient and precise means of water and fertilizer delivery. 

Crop Insights reviews the history of drip irrigation development, discusses the comparative features, benefits and economics of SDI for corn production and details how SDI is being used in research to characterize and create corn hybrids with improved drought tolerance and nitrogen-use efficiency. 

View the full Crop Insights online.