Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/2/2003
Publication Date: 1/2/2004
Citation: Suyama, H., Benes, S.E., Robinson, P.H., Getachew, G., Grieve, C.M., Grattan, S.R. 2004. Biomass production and nutritional value of salt-tolerant forages irrigated with saline drainage water: field and greenhouse studies. In: Proceedings of the California Plant and Soil Conference, CA chapter of the American Society of Agronomy, Feb. 3-4, 2004, Visalia, CA. p. 166-167. Interpretive Summary: Drainage water reuse is a management option proposed for the westside of the San Joaquin Valley of California. Crop selection for use in water reuse systems requires knowledge of their response to irrigation waters high in soluable salts and potentially toxic trace elements such as boron. A greenhouse experiment was conducted at California State University, Fresno, to evaluate crops for biomass production and mineral ion composition. Promising candidates were identified (e.g., tall wheatgrass, seashore paspalum, creeping wild rye) whose performance will be tested under field conditions.
Technical Abstract: In recent years, the management of saline drainage water has presented major challenges to agriculture on the Westside San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Subsurface drainage systems are considered essential to control soil salinity and boron, and to lower perched water tables in impacted areas, but their use is limited due to wildlife hazards associated with selenium in the drainage water. The re-use of drainage water for the irrigation of salt tolerant plants is a promising, on-farm, practice to reduce drainage water volumes and thereby facilitate their disposal. Drainage water collection and re-use for irrigation could also be practiced within small districts. Selection and evaluation of halophytes and salt-tolerant forages that can grow under irrigation with the saline -sodic drainage water is currently underway. The selection of forages is based on their tolerance to soil salinity, boron, and poorly-aerated soils with tough surface crusts; a long with climatic adaptability and their nutritional value for animal feeds.