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  • 1 Faculty of Agriculture in Osijek Osijek Croatia
  • 2 University of Debrecen Institute of Crop Science, Agronomy Faculty Debrecen Hungary
  • 3 Agricultural Institute in Osijek Osijek Croatia
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In the decade from 2000 to 2009, the yield of maize grain in Croatia varied from 4.2 t ha−1 (2003) to 8.0 t ha−1 (2008). The yield variation was mainly caused by weather conditions unfavourable for maize production, meaning lack of precipitation, unevenly distributed during the vegetation season, and mean air temperatures above the long-term mean. Irrigation has become a justified and essential agrotechnical measure that minimizes the damage caused by water deficit during critical plant growth stages and ensures high yields with good quality. In this paper two vegetation seasons (2006 and 2007) with quite different weather conditions for maize production were analysed in order to examine the importance of irrigation in terms of yield increase, irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE), irrigation efficiency (IE) and irrigation water use index (IWUI) in years favourable (2006) or too dry (2007) for maize production. The yield surpluses achieved with irrigation ranged from 8.54 t ha−1 to 9.62 t ha−1 in the average crop year (2006) and from 8.43 t ha−1 to 10.7 t ha−1 in the dry year (2007), depending on the irrigation method. In the dry year the values of IWUE where higher than in the average year (6.16 and 13.75 kg ha−1/mm, respectively, averaged over the hybrids).

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