This study was designed to evaluate the crop water stress index (CWSI) for low-energy precision application (LEPA) irrigated corn (Zen mays L.) grown on slowly-permeable Pullman clay loam soil (fine, mixed, Torrertic Paleustoll) during the 1992 growing season at Bushland, Tex. The effects of six different irrigation levels (100%, 80%, 60%, 40%, 20%, and 0% replenishment of soil water depleted from the 1.5-m soil profile depth) on corn yields and the resulting CWSI were investigated. Irrigations were applied in 25 mm increments to maintain the soil water in the 100% treatment within 60-80% of the "plant extractable soil water" using LEPA technology, which wets alternate furrows only. The 1892 growing season was slightly wetter than normal. Thus, irrigation water use was less than normal, but the corn dry matter and grain yield were still significantly increased by irrigation. The yield, water use, and water use efficiency of fully irrigated corn were 1.246 kg/m(2), 786 mm, and 1.34 kg/m(3), respectively. CWSI was calculated from measurements of infrared canopy temperatures, ambient air temperatures, and vapor pressure deficit values for the six irrigation levels. A "non-water-stressed baseline" equation for corn was developed using the diurnal infrared canopy temperature measurements as T-c-T-a= 1.06-2.56 VPD, where T-c was the canopy temperature (degrees C), Ta was the air temperature (degrees C) and VPD was the vapor pressure deficit (kPa). Trends in CWSI values were consistent with the soil water contents induced by the deficit irrigations. Both the dry matter and grain yields decreased with increased soil water deficit. Minimal yield reductions were observed at a threshold CWSI value of 0.33 or less for corn. The CWSI was useful fur evaluating crop water stress in corn and should be a valuable tool to assist irrigation decision making together with soil water measurements and/or evapotranspiration models.