|HENRY, CHRIS - University Of Arkansas|
|HIRSH, S - University Of Arkansas|
|ANDERS, M - University Of Arkansas|
|WATKINS, KENTON - University Of Arkansas|
|HARDKE, JARROD - University Of Arkansas|
Submitted to: Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2016
Publication Date: 6/13/2016
Citation: Henry, C.G., Hirsh, S.L., Anders, M.M., Vories, E.D., Reba, M.L., Watkins, K.B., Hardke, J.T. 2016. Annual irrigation water use for Arkansas rice production. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering. doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)IR.1943-4774.0001068.
Interpretive Summary: Rice is a major crop in Arkansas and nearly half of all US rice is produced in the state. A study was conducted to investigate Arkansas rice irrigation water use between the years of 2003 and 2012. A significant water savings was reported for rice grown under a zero grade irrigation system compared to contour and straight levee systems, whereas no differences were found comparing contour and straight levees. Furthermore, surface water irrigators were found to use significantly less irrigation water than fields using a well and fields that used diesel as an energy source used less irrigation water than those using electric pumps. Identifying practices associated with less irrigation water use is essential to help reverse the trend of falling aquifer levels in many rice producing areas of Arkansas. Rice producers will benefit from the reduction in associated energy cost and everyone will benefit from less water use for crop production.
Technical Abstract: This study investigated rice irrigation water use in the University of Arkansas Rice Research Verification Program between the years of 2003 and 2012. Irrigation water use averaged 763 mm (30.0 in) over the ten years. A significant 40% water savings was reported for rice grown under a zero grade irrigation system (486 mm or 19.1 in) compared to contour and straight levee systems . No differences in irrigation water use were found comparing contour levees (814 mm or 32.1 in) and straight levees (822 mm or 32.4 in). Surface water irrigators were found to use significantly less irrigation water (624 mm; 24.6 in) than fields using a well (786 mm; 30.7 in) and costs were $31.37 less per acre to operate. For energy source, diesel cost significantly more ($88.38/acre; $218.29/ha) than electric pumps ($58.69/acre;$145.96/ha) (p = 0.02), although fields that used diesel as an energy source used 152 mm (6.0 in) less irrigation water than electric pumps. 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 but the practice resulted in improved yields. These results are in contrast to those in earlier studies and suggest that a new educational effort may be helpful for those utilizing multiple inlet in Arkansas.