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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Christen, E
item Ayars, James - Jim
item Hornbuckle, J
item Hickey, M

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2006
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: From a vegetable industry perspective it is important to identify the best irrigation practice that will allow the industry to develop in the future. This means using systems that allow efficient use of water, labour and other resources while producing a quality product. There will also be the expectation and opportunity to use a wide variety of water sources. This use of reduced quality water will determine how much water can be applied without harmful effects on the crop and soil. An properly designed and operated irrigation system is crucial to maximise production quantity and quality and irrigation efficiency whilst minimising environmental impacts. This report has broadly assessed the three main irrigation systems, furrow, sprinkler and drip against the key criteria related to irrigation for vegetables. The main areas are of water quality parameters, likelihood of minimizing environmental problems and appropriateness for efficient and economic crop production. Although the method of water application is dependent on many site and economic considerations, the most efficient system, with least human and environmental risk, is generally considered to be drip irrigation. This report focuses upon drip irrigation. Drip irrigation may not always be suitable for a particular agricultural system due to soil physical properties, establishment difficulties, cost considerations and other factors outlined in this report.

Technical Abstract: With the reduction of per capita water supply throughout the world there will be need to use both good and degraded water supplies for production of a wide variety of crops including vegetables and forages. This chapter describes the technical considerations for selection of appropriate irrigation systems for use in vegetable production. The first section describes the considerations involved with system selection. In applications with degraded water quality drip irrigation was deemed the most appropriate technology and the remaining focus is on the design and operation of drip systems for use with poor quality water.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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