Soil water-balance-based approach for estimating percolation with lysimeter and in field with and without mulch under micro irrigation
Precise, accurate knowledge of percolation is key to reliable determination of soil water balance and a crop’s water-use efficiency. This work evaluated an approach to estimate the amount of water percolated in the root zone using soil water content (SWC) data measured at different time intervals. The approach was based on the difference of soil water content within and below the effective root zone of banana plants at different time intervals. A drainage lysimeter was used to compare the measured and estimated percolation data. The approach was then used in a banana orchard under drip and micro sprinkler irrigation, with and without the use of mulch. The soil water storage in the banana’s root zone was evaluated within a two-dimensional soil profile with time domain reflectometry (TDR). Mean percolation measured in the lysimeters did not differ from the approach’s estimates using intervals between SWC readings equal to or longer than 6 h from the end of an irrigation event. Percolation estimates under drip and micro sprinkler irrigation in the field, with and without mulch, were consistent with those measured in the lysimeters, considering the 6-h interval of SWC measurements. Percolation was greater under the drip irrigation system with mulch. The amount of water percolated was not influenced by the presence of mulch under the micro sprinkler system.
Keywords: localized irrigation, soil water balance, soil water content sensor.
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