Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Kimberly, Idaho » Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383646

Research Project: Improving Water Use Efficiency and Water Quality in Irrigated Agricultural Systems

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Title: Does turbulent-flow conditioning of irrigation water influence soil chemical processes: II. Long-term soil and crop study

Author
item Lentz, Rodrick - Rick
item IPPOLITO, JAMES - Colorado State University
item Spokas, Kurt

Submitted to: Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/27/2021
Publication Date: 2/7/2022
Publication URL: https://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/7666186
Citation: Lentz, R.D., Ippolito, J.A., Spokas, K.A. 2022. Does turbulent-flow conditioning of irrigation water influence soil chemical processes: II. Long-term soil and crop study. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 53(5):636-650. https://doi.org/10.1080/00103624.2021.2017963.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00103624.2021.2017963

Interpretive Summary: Water is an integral component of earth’s ecosystems and is critical for life yet, in many aspects, remains a mystery. Scientists have debated for more than a century trying to describe the interaction between water molecules in a liquid state, how water’s 3-D structure may change, and how such changes may influence its chemical activity. This long-term cropping study confirmed the discovery reported in a previous laboratory study that turbulence-induced, physical agitation of irrigation water (CTap) increases K, NH4-N, Mg, and other nutrients in soil leachate compared to untreated (Tap) water. In addition, this research discovered that turbulent conditioning (CTap) increased the availability of soil nutrients and their use by crops relative to Tap. If the capacity of this simple device to increase soil cation leaching can be confirmed in broader applications, it could potentially provide an economical means of increasing the availability of nutrients in treated soils and managing or remediating degraded, salt-affected soils.

Technical Abstract: Recent laboratory evidence suggests that the intrinsic behavior of molecular water in soil is altered by turbulent-flow conditioning (CTap) of mineralized irrigation water (Tap). This 9-yr (2009 to 2017), irrigated, outdoor, cropped pot study evaluated the effect of Tap and CTap irrigation water on soil leachate chemistry, nutrient availability, and aboveground crop biomass yield and nutrient uptake. CTap increased cumulative mass losses of: NO3-N 2.5-fold; Mn 2-fold; K 1.6-fold; Mg, DOC, and NH4-N an average 1.2-fold; and increased the mean EC of leachate 1.2-fold. In both the current and a previous laboratory study (see Part 1), K, NH4-N, and Mg were leachate components most consistently selected by multivariate analysis as best discriminating between water treatments. The evidence also suggests that CTap increased mean available soil: Zn 2.4-fold; Cu, K, and Olsen P an average 1.4-fold; Na and Fe 1.2-fold; and decreased soil TC (4%), TIC (8%) and Mg (9%) relative to the Tap. In addition, CTap increased average crop biomass element concentrations of: Zn, Fe, and Al an average 1.3-fold; TN, Ca, K, and S 1.1-fold; and decreased TC (2%) relative to Tap. If the capacity of this simple device to increase soil cation leaching can be confirmed in broader applications, it could potentially provide an economical means of increasing the availability of nutrients in treated soils and managing or remediating degraded, salt-affected soils.