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Water 2013, 5(2), 578-592; doi:10.3390/w5020578
Article

Influence of Irrigation Water Discharge Frequency on Soil Salt Removal and Rice Yield in a Semi-Arid and Saline-Sodic Area

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Received: 28 February 2013 / Revised: 2 April 2013 / Accepted: 23 April 2013 / Published: 7 May 2013
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Abstract

Irrigation practice for rice culture can be especially challenging in areas with limited water supply and soil salinization. In this study, we carried out a field experiment to assess the effects of different water discharge frequencies on soil salt content, rice yield and water use efficiency on a saline-sodic soil in a semi-arid region of Northeast China. The experiment comprised of three frequency levels of discharge [9-time (I-9-30), 6-time (I-6-30) and 3-time (I-3-30) discharge, all followed with a 30-mm irrigation] in comparison with the traditional irrigation practice of 2-time discharge followed with an 80-mm irrigation (I-2-80). Our initial hypothesis was that increasing discharge frequency would increase both salt reduction and rice yield. Daily precipitation was recorded by a nearby weather station, and evapotranspiration and soil water percolation rates were measured at experimental sites using soil pits. The measurements were used to establish a water balance for each treatment. Our results showed that soil salt reduction increased with the increasing discharge frequency at a 30-mm irrigation water depth. The 9-time discharge reduced a large amount of soil salt (995.0 kg ha−1) after five months of the study. Rice yield also increased with the increasing discharge frequency with a 30-mm irrigation water depth; however, when compared to the traditional 2-time discharge followed with an 80-mm irrigation, rice yield at the sites with more frequent discharge (i.e., I-9-30, I-6-30 and I-3-30) was 11%–18% lower. Because of this, rice yield and irrigation water use efficiency were significantly higher under the traditional practice of high-irrigation with low-frequency discharge (I-2-80) than under I-9-30, I-6-30 and I-3-30. These results indicate a need for a trade-off amongst salt reduction, rice yield and water use when considering selection of irrigation and discharge schedules.
Keywords: soil salinity control; irrigation/discharge schedule; irrigation water management; rice production; Songnen Plain soil salinity control; irrigation/discharge schedule; irrigation water management; rice production; Songnen Plain
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Chen, Y.; Zhang, G.; Xu, Y.J.; Huang, Z. Influence of Irrigation Water Discharge Frequency on Soil Salt Removal and Rice Yield in a Semi-Arid and Saline-Sodic Area. Water 2013, 5, 578-592.

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