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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Erosion, Controlling Irrigation-Induced

Authors
item Sojka, Robert
item Bjorneberg, David

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Soil Science
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2001
Publication Date: September 1, 2002

Interpretive Summary: Because agricultural yield is double and crop value is triple from irrigated lands, and because arid zone irrigated soils are often fragile and easily eroded, concern for erosion on irrigated land is very great. While the processes that result in erosion are identical for rainfed agriculture and for irrigated agriculture, the combinations of processes and their interactions with soil in irrigated systems differ greatly from rainfed systems. Irrigation erosion can be affected by water quality (electrical conductivity and sodium content) and water application method. No-tillage is seldom used with furrow irrigation because trash movement in furrows interferes with irrigation and row and furrow spacings must change as crops are rotated. Irrigation-induced erosion can be controlled via water application control and scheduling (intensity and volume), cropping practices, such as no-till, use of grass filter strips, changes in row spacings or furrow mulching, through tillage by deep ripping, reservoir tillage, and conservation tillage, by engineering practices such as use of buried drains and standpipes, conversion to sprinklers, leveling and terracing, or by altering water chemistry to either reduce sodium content or by adding calcium and/or natural or synthetic soil stabilizing polymers.

Technical Abstract: Because agricultural yield is double and crop value is triple from irrigated lands, and because arid zone irrigated soils are often fragile and easily eroded, concern for erosion on irrigated land is very great. While the processes that result in erosion are identical for rainfed agriculture and for irrigated agriculture, the combinations of processes and their interactions with soil in irrigated systems differ greatly from rainfed systems. Irrigation erosion can be affected by water quality (electrical conductivity and sodium content) and water application method. No-tillage is seldom used with furrow irrigation because trash movement in furrows interferes with irrigation and row and furrow spacings must change as crops are rotated. Irrigation-induced erosion can be controlled via water application control and scheduling (intensity and volume), cropping practices, such as no-till, use of grass filter strips, changes in row spacings or furrow mulching, through tillage by deep ripping, reservoir tillage, and conservation tillage, by engineering practices such as use of buried drains and standpipes, conversion to sprinklers, leveling and terracing, or by altering water chemistry to either reduce sodium content or by adding calcium and/or natural or synthetic soil stabilizing polymers.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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