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Unformatted text preview: Lecture 18 Trickle Irrigation Planning Factors
I. Soil Wetted Area
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• Trickle irrigation systems typically apply small amounts of water on a
frequent basis, maintaining soil water near field capacity
But, usually not all of the soil surface is wetted, and much of the root zone is
not wetted (at least not by design) by the system
Recall that the system is applying water to each individual plant using one or
more emission points per plant WidelySpaced Crops
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• These include orchards and vineyards, for example
According to Keller & Bliesner, for widelyspaced crops, the percent wetted
area, Pw, should normally be between 33% and 67%
The value of Pw from the irrigation system can fall below 33% if there is
enough rainfall to supplement the water applied through the trickle system
Lower values of Pw can decrease the irrigation system cost because less
emitters per unit area are required
Lower values of Pw can allow more convenient access (manual labor &
machinery) for cultural practices during irrigation
Lower values of Pw can also help control weed growth in arid and semiarid
regions, and reduce soil surface evaporation
Lower values of Pw carry the danger that the soil will dry to dangerously low
levels more quickly in the event the irrigation system goes “offline” for any
reason (power failure, broken pipe, pump problems, labor shortage, etc.)
With lower values of Pw, there is less storage of applied water in the root
zone, especially with lighttextured soils (sandy soils)
With tree crops, low values of Pw can lead to “root anchorage” problems, in
which root extension is insufficient to support the trees during winds CloselySpaced Crops
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• These include most row crops
Actual Pw values may be near or at 100% with row crops and subsurface drip
irrigation systems (in the USA rows are typically spaced from 30 inches to 60
inches)
Larger values of Pw usually mean more extensive root development, and
enhanced ability for the plant to make use of any rain water that may come
Figure 19.1 in the textbook shows a generalized relationship between Pw,
amount of rainfall, and crop production level – the figure implies that
maximum crop yield may be higher under a trickle irrigation system than with
other methods Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures Page 207 Merkley & Allen • Figure 19.1 indicates that 100% crop yield might be obtained, in general, with
Pw ≥ 33% Wetted Soil Area, Aw
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• The wetted soil area, Aw, is not measured at the soil surface, but from a
horizontal plane about 30 cm below the soil surface (actually, it depends on
root depth and soil type)
The same is true for Pw
The reason we are interested in Pw is to calculate the application depth “dx,”
as discussed in the following lecture
This wetted area is distorted for sloping terrain, but the distortion is uniform
for uniform slopes (all other factors being the same) Wetted soil area can be estimated from empirical relationships and tables
(Table 19.1 in the textbook), but it is best to have sitespecific field data in
which potential emitters are operated in the design area
That is, test the emitter(s) and spacings in the field before completing the
irrigation system design
Calculate percent wetted area, Pw, as follows: ⎛ N pS e w ⎞
Pw = 100 ⎜
⎟ , for Se < 0.8 w
⎜ S pS rPd ⎟
⎝
⎠ (333) where Np is the number of emission points (emitters) per plant; Se is the
spacing of emitters along a lateral; w is the wetted width along the lateral; Sp
is the spacing of plants along a row; Sr is the spacing between rows; and Pd
is the fraction (not percent) of area shaded (see Lecture 19)
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• Note that the numerator of Eq. 333 is wetted area, and the denominator is
actual plant area
Note also that some emitters have multiple emission points Merkley & Allen Page 208 Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures • Se is the spacing between emitters on the lateral; however, if Se is greater
than 0.8w, then use 0.8w instead: ⎛ 0.8 N p w 2 ⎞
⎟ , for Se ≥ 0.8 w
Pw = 100 ⎜
⎜ S pS r Pd ⎟
⎝
⎠
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• Note that w is a function of the soil type
Se’ is the “optimal” emitter spacing,
defined as 0.8w
There are practical limitations to the value
of Se with respect to Sp, otherwise there
may not be enough emitters per plant
(perhaps less than one) • (334) Sample calculation:
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• Suppose Sr = Sp = 3.0 m, Pd =
80%, and w = 1.1 m
Determine Np for Pw ≥ 33% Se ' = 0.8 w = 0.8(1.1) = 0.88 m
0.33 = (335) Np (0.88)(1.1) (336) (3.0)(3.0)(0.80) whereby Np = 2.45. Then, Pw =
• 3(0.88)(1.1)
= 0.40
(3.0)(3.0)(0.80) (337) For doublelateral trickle systems, spaced Se’ apart, Pw is calculated as
follows (see Eq. 19.4): ⎛ N S ' (S ' + w ) ⎞
pe
e
⎟ , for Se ≤ 0.8 w
Pw = 100 ⎜
⎜ 2 Pd S pS r
⎟
⎝
⎠ ( ) (338) or, ⎛ 1.44 w 2 N
p
Pw = 100 ⎜
⎜ 2Pd S pS r
⎝ ( Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures ) ⎞ 72 w 2 N
p
⎟=
, for Se ≤ 0.8 w
⎟ Pd S pS r
⎠ ( ) Page 209 (339) Merkley & Allen Se’=0.8w
0.5w
w
Se ’
0.5w
Se Se Double laterals
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• As in the previous equation, if Se > Se’, use Se’ instead of Se in the above
equation for double laterals
In the above equation, the denominator has a “2” because Np for double
lateral systems is always at least 2
For microspray emitters, the wetted area is greater than that measured at
the surface (because it is measured below the surface): ⎡
Se ⎞ ⎤
⎛
⎢ N p ⎜ A s + (PS ) 2 ⎟ ⎥
⎝
⎠ ⎥ , for S ≤ 0.8 w
Pw = 100 ⎢
e
S pS rPd
⎢
⎥
⎢
⎥
⎣
⎦ (340) where As is the surface area wetted by the sprayer; and PS is the perimeter
(circumference) of the wetted surface area
• In the above equation for Pw, the term in the inner parenthesis is: Se π w 2 π w Se π w ⎛ w
⎞
=
+
=
A s + (PS )
⎜ + Se ⎟
2
4
2
2 ⎝2
⎠ (341) where w is the diameter corresponding to As, assuming a circular area
• See Fig. 19.4 on sprayers Merkley & Allen Page 210 Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures Salinity in Trickle Irrigation
I. Salinity in Trickle Systems
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• • Salinity control is specialized with trickle irrigation because (usually) less than
100% of the area is wetted, and because water movement in the soil has
significant horizontal components
Irrigation water always contains salts, and fertilizers add salt to the crop root
zones  salinity management in the crop root zone is a longterm
management consideration with trickle systems, as it is with any other
irrigation method
Salts tend to accumulate, or “build up”, at the periphery of the wetted bulb
shape under the soil surface
1. Rain can push salts near the surface down into the crop root area (but
a heavy rain can push them all the way through the root zone)
2. If and when the irrigation system is not operated for a few days, there
can be pressure gradients in the soil that pulls salts from the periphery
up into the root zone •
• The crop is depending on frequent irrigations (perhaps daily) to keep salt
buildups from moving into the root mass
It may be necessary to operate the trickle system immediately following a
light rain to keeps salts away from roots (even if the soil is at field capacity) Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures Page 211 Merkley & Allen •
• Annual leaching with surface irrigation or sprinklers (on a trickleirrigated
field) may be necessary to clean salts out of the root zone, unless there is a
rainy period that provides enough precipitation to leach the soil
If the irrigation water has high salinity, trickle systems can provide for higher
crop production because the frequent irrigations maintain the soil salinity
nearer to the ECw (this is often not the case with sprinklers and surface
irrigation systems  salinity concentrates due to ET processes between water
applications) II. Yield Effects of Salinity
• According to Keller, the relative crop yield can be estimated as (Eq. 19.6): Yr =
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• (ECe )max − ECw
Yactual
=
Ypotential (ECe )max − (ECe )min (342) This is the relative crop yield (or production) in terms of soil water salinity
only
ECw is the electrical conductivity of the irrigation water
(ECe)max is the zero yield point, and (ECe)min is the 100% yield threshold
value
(ECe)max may be as high as 32, and (ECe)min can be as low as 0.9
This is based on the linear relationship between relative yield and salinity as
adopted years ago by FAO and other organizations
Of course, calculated Yr values must be between 0 and 1
Salinity of the soil extract, ECe, is measured by taking a soil sample to the
laboratory, adding pure water until the soil is saturated, then measuring the
electrical conductivity  most published crop tolerance and yield relationships
are based on the ECe as a standard reference
Crops don’t instantly die when the salinity approaches (ECe)max; the osmotic
potential increases and roots cannot extract the water that is there
There can also be specific toxicity problems with minerals at high salinity
levels
According to Allen, the relative yield will be near 100% for ECw less than
about 2(ECe)min, provided that frequent irrigations are applied (maintaining
salinity concentrations in root zone) III. Leaching Requirement
• According to Keller & Bliesner, the leaching requirement under a trickle
system in an arid or semiarid region does not consider effective rainfall (arid
regions often have more serious salinity problems, but tropical regions are
also subject to salinity in low areas) Merkley & Allen Page 212 Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures • Look at Eq. 19.7: LR t = ECw
ECdw (343) where LRt is the leaching requirement under trickle irrigation (fraction); and
ECdw is the electrical conductivity of the “drainage water”, which means the
water that moves downward past the root zone
• ECdw can be replaced by 2(ECe)max for daily or everyotherday irrigations
(keep water moving through the root zone), still obtaining Yr = 1.0 LR t = ECw
2 (ECe )max (344) IV. Allen’s Equation for LRt
• R.G. Allen suggests a more conservative equation for calculating the
leaching requirement under trickle irrigation:
1. For continuous trickle system operation (daily or once every two days),
the soil water in the root zone is maintained near field capacity, which can be
taken as approximately 50% saturation (θv) for many soils. Thus, ECe = 0.5ECsoil (345) (recall that ECe is measured after adding distilled water to the soil sample
until it is saturated)
2. Suppose the average ECsoil is taken as (0.667ECw + 0.333ECdw). Then,
for 100% relative yield at field capacity: (ECe )min = 0.5 (0.667ECw + 0.333ECdw )
solving for ECdw, ECdw = 6 (ECe )min − 2EC w (346) (347) 3. Substitute this last equation into Eq. 19.7 from the textbook to obtain: LR t = Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures EC w
6 (ECe )min − 2ECw
Page 213 (348) Merkley & Allen this is similar to the leaching requirement as calculated for sprinkler
irrigation in Eq. 3.3 (coefficients 5 and 1 instead of 6 and 2), except that
(ECe)min is for 100% yield rather than 10% reduction in yield Merkley & Allen Page 214 Sprinkle & Trickle Irrigation Lectures ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2012 for the course BIE 6110 taught by Professor Sprinkle during the Fall '03 term at Utah State University.
 Fall '03
 Sprinkle

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