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Effects of Subirrigation on Soil Properties

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  032086,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.13773) @2003
Authors:   Norman R. Fausey, Barbara J. Baker
Keywords:   pore size distribution, mean weight diameter, water stable aggregates, drainage, water table management, sodium, groundwater

Subirrigation utilizes subsurface drainage system infrastructure to add water back into the soil during the growing season to avoid drought stress and assure high crop yield. Some farmers have reported increased power requirement when tilling subirrigated fields. Examination of the soil physical and chemical properties in a replicated field plot study involving both subirrigation and no subirrigation treatments revealed loss of soil structure and change in pore size distribution in plots receiving annual subirrigation. Further examination revealed a small increase in sodium concentration in the soil profile of subirrigated plots. Soil samples were subsequently taken from other subirrigated fields to examine the roles of soil texture and water source on sodium accumulation. The results indicate that ground water sodium content is a critical parameter when subirrigating high clay content soils.

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