Measurement of the effects of irrigation application intensity and depth on soil water dynamics and drainage.

A study was conducted to investigate the dynamics of water infiltration into a Lismore silt loam under centre-pivot irrigation. This was done to quantify the relative impact of application intensity and application depth on the dynamics of the soil moisture profile and on the quantity and timing of drainage through the profile, particularly for longer centre-pivots, where shorter but more intense applications of water typically occur. The potential for design and management strategies to improve water use efficiency on this common New Zealand agricultral soil type was assessed.

Four instrumented lysimeters at the Lincoln University Lysimeter Laboratory were subjected to a range of irrigation depths and application intensities between November 2010 and February 2012, to simulate different points beneath a 1,000 metre-long centre-pivot irrigator. Soil matric potential, soil water content, and drainage volume were measured at one minute intervals after each application of water.

Contacts: Ian McIndoe
  Joe Powers

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