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Title: Sub Surface Drip and Furrow Irrigation Experiment in Emerald
Authors: McHugh, Jack
Keywords: subsurface trickle irrigation (SDl)
drip systems
most efficient water users
suboptimal managemen
cotton water deficit stress
lighter soils
nitrate fluxes
deep drainage
flood irrigation
furrow irrigated cotton
pesticides and nutrients runoff
Issue Date: 30-Jun-2003
Publisher: Qld Department of Natural Resources and Mines
Series/Report no.: ;CRDC215C
Abstract: Due to the size and nature of the agricultural industry in Australia the adoption of subsurface trickle irrigation (SDl) in this country has been limited due to bad experiences of early installations (Arithony, 1996). Underpinning these experiences was the failure of research at the time to fully identify and communicate the potential benefits of the drip systems (Bristow et a1. , 2000). For these reasons it has taken twenty years for SDlto re-establish itself as a viable irrigation alternative in the Australian cotton industry. The large body of research from Israel and the USA has indicated that substantial increase in yield and water use efficiency can be achieved through the installation on SDl for a number of crops (Camp at a1. , 2000). in Australia some of these promised benefits have not materialised because surface irrigators here have been described as the among the most efficient water users in the world (Arithony, 1996) and poor SDl performance has been attributed to suboptimal management based on observed cotton water deficit stress (HuIme and O'Brien, 2000). The use and management of SDl on Vertosols in Australia is poorly understood and many comparative studies have been treated with scepticism, (HuIme and O'Brien, 2000). Only two water balance studies have been conducted on the system. A study on lighter soils in the Emerald Irrigation Area, (M. MCCosker, pers. comm. ) demonstrated an increase in cotton yield and a doubling in WUE with SDl when compared with flood irrigation. On a Vertosol, total water used was 20-30% less with SDl, however water and nitrate fluxes (deep drainage), were significantly greater than under flood irrigation (Ian Gordon, pers. comm. ). Research by the cotton industry funded program "Minimising Pesticides in the Riverine environment"(1993- 1996) found unacceptable levels of sediment and chemical pollutants in surface runoff water from furrow irrigated cotton. Carroll et al. (1988) identified up to 80% of erosion was associated with rainstorm events, particularly soon after flood irrigation, and pesticides and nutrients are transported with the runoff and eroded sediment.
Appears in Collections:2003 Final Reports

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