Simulated Drip Irrigation with Different Soil Types

A. Fares, L. R. Parsons, T. A. Wheaton, K. T. Morgan, J. Simunek, M. Th.Van Genuchten

Abstract


Irrigation is essential for intensive agricultural production. As water resources become more scarce, microirrigation (microsprinkler and drip irrigation) is gaining popularity because of its efficiency compared to flood irrigation. Growers prefer drip irrigation given the low initial cost compared to microsprinkler irrigation. However, drip irrigation system performance is influenced by many factors, such as the soil physical properties, which are often ignored by many irrigators. The objective of this paper was to use a water flow and solute transport numerical model, HYDRUS-2D, to demonstrate the performance of drip irrigation with three different soil types. Results of this work showed that with sandy soil, the water front moves vertically; with loam and clay soils, water front movement is a multidirectional process. Compared to sands, the same drip system can cover twice and 1.5 times as much horizontal area in clay and loamy soils, respectively. Drip irrigation systems work better with loamy and clay soils than sandy soils. For citrus, in order to get the same surface coverage, more than one dripper per tree needs to be used on sandysoils. It is essential to consider the soil type when choosing any irrigation system. More field work will be conducted to confirm the findings of these simulation results.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283