Deep blade loosening and two-dimensional infiltration theory make furrow irrigation predictable, simpler and more efficient

Hamilton, G.J. and Akbar, G. and Raine, S. and McHugh, A. (2020) Deep blade loosening and two-dimensional infiltration theory make furrow irrigation predictable, simpler and more efficient. Agricultural Water Management, 239:106241. pp. 1-14. ISSN 0378-3774


Abstract

Internationally,furrow irrigation efficiency remains frustratingly less than desired. In Australia,reviews of irrigated cotton farming reveal deep drainage losses are at least 1.0ML/Ha/cropping season,and irrigators are using excessive cultivation which causes rapid consolidation of tilth and slows infiltration. This research sought to:(i) evaluate the ability of deep blade loosening(DBL), shallow cultivation (SC)and no-tillage (NT)soil management practices and 2 dimensional infiltration theory to respectively facilitate and predict lateral water penetration to the centre of wide beds (2m spacing); and (ii) to develop a simple irrigation practice based on assured wetting of bed centres. Field-scale research was undertaken on self-mulching clay on the Queensland Darling Downs. Bulk density(0−300mm depth) and soil moisture changes to 1000mm depth beneath furrows and beds were monitored in a maize crop that was irrigated twice.The duration of water applications,water inflow rates and water advance in furrows were also recorded. The absorption form of 2-dimensional infiltration theory predicted the time for water to reach the centre of beds and the amount of water infiltrated at given times in all treatments. Only the DBL treatment enhanced lateral sorptivity and infiltration. It had a ratio of lateral to vertical water penetration of 3:1. In contrast, the SC and NT treatments had ratios of 1:1, took two to three times longer for bed centres to wet and were much more susceptible to deep drainage losses beneath furrows and bed shoulders.An illustrative examples hows how this technology specifies the rate and duration of water applications and improves irrigation efficiency and effectiveness. Conservative estimates of water savings generated by its use lie between 0.25 and 0.80ML/Ha/irrigation (or 20%–30% of water/irrigation).


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Agricultural Engineering (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Agricultural Engineering (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2020 05:37
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2020 03:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: Stable tilth porosity, lateral sorptivity, time-to-bed centre, irrigation efficiency
Fields of Research (2008): 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070101 Agricultural Land Management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2020.106241
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39123

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