Location: Delta Water Management Research Unit
Title: Characterizing irrigation water requirements for rice production from the Arkansas Rice Research Verification Program Authors
Submitted to: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 22, 2012
Publication Date: July 29, 2012
Citation: Henry, C., Vories, E.D., Anders, M., Reba, M.L., Wilson, C. 2012. Characterizing irrigation water requirements for rice production from the Arkansas Rice Research Verification Program. In: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE). Paper No. 12-1337151:1-8. Interpretive Summary: Rice production in the US is a water intensive activity. The system under which rice is irrigated influences the amount of water used to grow the crop. Three systems of flood irrigation were compared as part of the Arkansas Rice Research Verification Program between 2003 and 2011, including contour levees, straight levees and zero-grade irrigation systems. Zero-grade systems used approximately 40% less water than the other two systems. The need for more education on the proper use of the side-inlet method of irrigation water was also identified. This research will benefit rice producers by identifying more efficient production systems and everyone will benefit from the water savings and the reduction in energy needed for pumping.
Technical Abstract: This study investigated rice irrigation water use in the University of Arkansas Rice Research Verification Program between the years of 2003 and 2011. Irrigation water use averaged 747 mm (29.4 inches) over the nine years. A significant 40% water savings was reported for rice grown under a zero grade irrigation system (482 mm or 19.0 inches) compared to contour and straight levee systems. No differences in water use were found comparing contour levees (812 mm or 31.9 inches) and straight levees (815 mm or 32.0 inches). Arkansas producers implementing the multiple inlet water delivery practice on contour levee or straight levee systems, irrespective of soil type, did not realize a water savings. These results are in contrast to those in earlier studies and suggest that an educational effort may be helpful for those utilizing multiple inlet in Arkansas.