Kevin Bronson and Kelly Thorp of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Maricopa, Ariz. are conducting field tests to determine if there is a better way to irrigate cotton in the Grand Canyon State other than traditionally flooding fields.
Field studies at the Maricopa Agricultural Center are testing two methods: an overhead sprinkler system guided by precision agriculture tools to place water only when and where its needed; and buried drip - a.k.a. subsurface drip irrigation.
Both fields have residue from a terminated rye crop to conserve water and reduce soil erosion. The rye was terminated before cotton planting.
You can learn about the trials online at: http://westernfarmpress.com/cotton/ars-targets-next-generation-arizona-cotton-irrigation.
Enjoy these photos which visually demonstrate the sprinkler and buried drip field trials.