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The Bushland, Texas Maize for Grain Datasets

posted on 2024-02-29, 21:05 authored by Steven EvettSteven Evett, Karen S. Copeland, Brice B. Ruthardt, Gary W. Marek, Paul D. Colaizzi, Terry A. Sr. Howell, David K. Brauer

This parent dataset (collection of datasets) describes the general organization of data in the datasets for each growing season (year) when maize (Zea mays, L., also known as corn in the United States) was grown for grain at the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Laboratory (CPRL), Soil and Water Management Research Unit (SWMRU), Bushland, Texas (Lat. 35.186714°, Long. -102.094189°, elevation 1170 m above MSL). Maize was grown for grain on between two and four large, precision weighing lysimeters, each in the center of a 4.44 ha square field. The four fields were contiguous and arranged in four quadrants, which were labeled northeast (NE), southeast (SE), northwest (NW), and southwest (SW). See the resource titled "Geographic Coordinates, USDA, ARS, Bushland, Texas" for UTM geographic coordinates for field and lysimeter locations. Maize was grown on only the NE and SE fields in 1989 and 1990, and on all four fields in 1994, 2013, 2016, and 2018. Irrigation was by linear move sprinkler system in 1989, 1990, and 1994, although the system was equipped with various application technologies such as high-pressure impact sprinklers, low pressure spray applications, and low energy precision applicators (LEPA). In 2013, 2016, and 2018, two lysimeters and their respective fields were irrigated using subsurface drip irrigation (SDI), and two lysimeters and their respective fields were irrigated by a linear move sprinkler system equipped with spray applicators. Irrigations were managed to replenish soil water used by the crop on a weekly or more frequent basis as determined by soil profile water content readings made with a neutron probe from 0.10- to 2.4-m depth in the field. The number and spacing of neutron probe reading locations changed through the years (additional sites were added), which is one reason why subsidiary datasets and data dictionaries are needed. The lysimeters and fields were planted to the same plant density, row spacing, tillage depth (by hand on the lysimeters and by machine in the fields), and fertilizer and pesticide applications. The weighing lysimeters were used to measure relative soil water storage to 0.05 mm accuracy at 5-minute intervals, and the 5-minute change in soil water storage was used along with precipitation, dew and frost accumulation, and irrigation amounts to calculate crop evapotranspiration (ET), which is reported at 15-minute intervals. Each lysimeter was equipped with a suite of instruments to sense wind speed, air temperature and humidity, radiant energy (incoming and reflected, typically both shortwave and longwave), surface temperature, soil heat flux, and soil temperature, all of which are reported at 15-minute intervals. Instruments used changed from season to season, which is another reason that subsidiary datasets and data dictionaries for each season are required.

Important conventions concerning the data-time correspondence, sign conventions, and terminology specific to the USDA ARS, Bushland, TX, field operations are given in the resource titled "Conventions for Bushland, TX, Weighing Lysimeter Datasets".

There are six datasets in this collection. Common symbols and abbreviations used in the datasets are defined in the resource titled, "Symbols and Abbreviations for Bushland, TX, Weighing Lysimeter Datasets". Datasets consist of Excel (xlsx) files. Each xlsx file contains an Introductory tab that explains the other tabs, lists the authors, describes conventions and symbols used and lists any instruments used. The remaining tabs in a file consist of dictionary and data tabs. There is a dictionary tab for every data tab. The name of the dictionary tab contains the name of the corresponding data tab. Tab names are unique so that if individual tabs were saved to CSV files, each CSV file in the entire collection would have a different name. The six datasets, according to their titles, are as follows:

See the README for descriptions of each dataset.

The land slope is <1% and topography is flat. The mean annual precipitation is ~470 mm, the 20-year pan evaporation record indicates ~2,600 mm Class A pan evaporation per year, and winds are typically from the South and Southwest. The climate is semi-arid with ~70% (350 mm) of the annual precipitation occurring from May to September, during which period the pan evaporation averages ~1520 mm.

These datasets originate from research aimed at determining crop water use (ET), crop coefficients for use in ET-based irrigation scheduling based on a reference ET, crop growth, yield, harvest index, and crop water productivity as affected by irrigation method, timing, amount (full or some degree of deficit), agronomic practices, cultivar, and weather. Prior publications have described the facilities and research methods, and have focused on maize ET, crop coefficients, and crop water productivity. Crop coefficients have been used by ET networks for irrigation management. The data have utility for testing simulation models of crop ET, growth, and yield and have been used by the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), by OPENET, and by many others for testing, and calibrating models of ET that use satellite and/or weather data.

Resources in this dataset:

  • Resource Title: Geographic Coordinates of Experimental Assets, Weighing Lysimeter Experiments, USDA, ARS, Bushland, Texas.
    File Name: Geographic Coordinates, USDA, ARS, Bushland, Texas.xlsx.
    Resource Description: The file gives the UTM latitude and longitude of important experimental assets of the Bushland, Texas, USDA, ARS, Conservation & Production Research Laboratory (CPRL). Locations include weather stations [Soil and Water Management Research Unit (SWMRU) and CPRL], large weighing lysimeters, and corners of fields within which each lysimeter was centered. There were four fields designated NE, SE, NW, and SW, and a weighing lysimeter was centered in each field. The SWMRU weather station was adjacent to and immediately east of the NE and SE lysimeter fields.
  • Resource Title: Conventions for Bushland, TX, Weighing Lysimeter Datasets.
    File Name: Conventions for Bushland, TX, Weighing Lysimeter Datasets.xlsx.
    Resource Description: Descriptions of conventions and terminology used in the Bushland, TX, weighing lysimeter research program.
  • Resource Title: Symbols and Abbreviations for Bushland, TX, Weighing Lysimeter Datasets.
    File Name: Symbols and Abbreviations for Bushland, TX, Weighing Lysimeter Datasets.xlsx.
    Resource Description: Definitions of symbols and abbreviations used in the Bushland, TX, weighing lysimeter research datasets.
  • Resource Title: README - Bushland Texas Maize for Grain collection.
    File Name: README_Bushland_maize_for_grain_collection.pdf.
    Resource Description: Descriptions of the datasets in the Bushland Texas Maize for Grain collection.


USDA-ARS: 3090-13000-015-00D


Data contact name

Evett, Steven R.

Data contact email


Ag Data Commons

Intended use

These data may be used to test and calibrate models of maize growth, water use (ET), and yield, and many be used to develop crop coefficients for use with a reference evapotranspiration model to estimate crop water use. Care was taken to ensure that lysimeter ET data were representative of the 4.4 ha fields within which each lysimeter was centered. Therefore, satellite data with 100-m or smaller pixels may be suitable for use with the lysimeter data in testing and calibration of models based on satellite data.

Use limitations

The data pertain to the specific location, soil, climate, cultivar, and agronomic practices described in the data sets. Extrapolation to other climates, soils, cultivars, and practices should be done with care. Individual fields were square and somewhat larger than 210 m in width and length, so care should be used when combining satellite data with these data if satellite image pixels are large. Observations of air temperature and relative humidity, wind speed, and solar irradiance taken at the lysimeters should not be used as weather input for simulation models; weather data observed under standard conditions at the research weather station should be used as input to simulation models.

Temporal Extent Start Date



  • irregular


  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


ISO Topic Category

  • geoscientificInformation
  • farming
  • climatologyMeteorologyAtmosphere

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

meteorological data; Agricultural Research Service; Texas; soil; water management; grasses; growing season; evapotranspiration; lysimeters; air temperature; relative humidity; wind speed; solar radiation; surface area; rain; evaporation; climate; simulation models; energy; corn; Zea mays; crop production; crop yield

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 211

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Evett, Steven R.; Copeland, Karen S.; Ruthardt, Brice B.; Marek, Gary W.; Colaizzi, Paul D.; Howell, Terry A., Sr.; Brauer, David K. (2022). The Bushland, Texas Maize for Grain Datasets. Ag Data Commons.

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