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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Influence of Irrigation Method, Tillage, and Crop Residues on Infiltration and Interrill Erosion on a Pullman Soil

item Howell T A,
item Jones O R,
item Reddell D L, - TEXAS A&M UNIV.
item Ngang F, - TEXAS A&M UNIV.
item Schneider A D,

Submitted to: Clean Water Clean Environment 21st Century Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Erosion from cropland by rain and by irrigation can damage the environment by sedimentation in waterways and by the transport of chemicals into surface waters. Runoff and erosion were measured from graded furrow and sprinkler irrigated plots representative of typical agricultural production practices in the Southern High Plains using artificial rainfall. Initial measurements showed that residue management with no-till or ridge-till systems enhanced infiltration capacity for the wheat residue phase of a wheat-sorghum-fallow rotation. Sprinkler irrigated plots had greater infiltration rates than the graded furrow irrigated plots. These preliminary results show that conservation tillage with irrigated production can reduce erosion potential on the Pullman soil.

Technical Abstract: Erosion from irrigated cropland in the Southern High Plains is one of the regional water quality problems. This study reports the initial parts of an ongoing field study designed to measure runoff and erosion from graded furrow and sprinkler irrigated fields in the Southern High Plains. A rainfall infiltrometer was used to simulate natural rain on plots irrigated by graded furrows and by a sprinkler under conventional tillage and ridge-till and no-till crop production systems. The wheat residues after wheat harvest and the undisturbed soil conditions with no-till maintained infiltration rates exceeding 1.0 in/hr after 3 in. of simulated rain at an intensity of 2.0 in/hr while the conventionally tilled plots with more remaining wheat residue and a disturbed soil had infiltration rates less than 0.7 in/hr. The results indicated 20% greater early infiltration for furrow irrigated plots compared with sprinkler and 30% greater infiltration for no-till compared with conventional tillage. The reduced no-till systems of crop production offer considerable water conserving potentials, but the high residues produced by irrigated crops may be troublesome to manage long-term with no-till.

Last Modified: 5/5/2015
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