Water Use, Growth, and Yield of Ratooned Guayule under Subsurface Drip and Furrow Irrigation in the US Southwest Desert

Diaa Eldin M. Elshikha, Peter M. Waller, Douglas J. Hunsaker, Kelly R. Thorp, Guangyao Wang, David Dierig, Von Mark V. Cruz, Said Attalah, Matthew E. Katterman, Clinton Williams, Dennis T. Ray, Randy Norton, Ethan Orr, Gerard W. Wall, Kimberly L. Ogden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Guayule (Parthenium argentatum, A. Gray) is a perennial desert shrub with ratoon-cropping potential for multiple harvests of its natural rubber, resin, and bagasse byproducts. However, yield expectations, water use requirements, and irrigation scheduling information for ratooned guayule are extremely limited. The objectives of this study were to evaluate dry biomass (DB), contents of rubber (R) and resin (Re) and yields of rubber (RY) and resin (ReY) responses to irrigation treatments, and develop irrigation management criteria for ratooned guayule. The water productivity (WP) of the yield components were also evaluated. Guayule plants that were direct-seeded in April 2018 were ratooned and regrown starting in April 2020, after an initial 2-year harvest at two locations in Arizona: Maricopa and Eloy on sandy loam and clay soils, respectively. Plots were irrigated with subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) at 50, 75, and 100% replacement of crop evapotranspiration (ETc), respectively, and furrow irrigation at 100% ETc replacement, as determined by soil water balance measurements. The Eloy location did not include the 100% irrigation treatment under SDI due to unsuccessful regrowth for this specific treatment. The irrigation treatments at the locations were replicated three times in a randomized complete block design. After 21–22 months of regrowth, the guayule plants were harvested in plots. The results showed that DB increased with the amount of total water applied (TWA, irrigation plus precipitation), while R and Re were reduced at the highest TWA received at both locations. Ultimately, the SDI treatments with 75% ETc replacement resulted in the best irrigation management in terms of maximizing RY and ReY, and WP for both locations and soil types. Compared to the initial 2-year direct-seeded guayule crop, ratooned guayule required less TWA and attained higher DB, RY, and ReY, as well as higher WP, with average increases of 25% in dry biomass, 33% in rubber yield, and 32% in resin yield. A grower’s costs for planting the initial direct-seeded guayule crop would be offset by the additional yield revenue of the ratooned crop, which would have comparatively small startup costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3412
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • evapotranspiration
  • irrigation management
  • rubber yield
  • soil water depletion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Water Use, Growth, and Yield of Ratooned Guayule under Subsurface Drip and Furrow Irrigation in the US Southwest Desert'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this