Special Issue "Agricultural Irrigation"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 May 2019).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Aliasghar Montazar
Website
Guest Editor
Irrigation and Water Management Advisor, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1050 E. Holton Rd. Holtville, CA 92250, USA
Interests: agricultural water management; drainage and water quality; on-farm water conservation; salinity management and control practices; environmental instrumentation and modeling
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agriculture is certainly the most important food supplier while it globally accounts for more than 70% of water used and contributes significantly to water pollution. Irrigated agriculture is facing rising competition worldwide for access to reliable, low cost, and high-quality water resources. However, irrigation as the major tool and determinant of affecting agricultural productivity and environmental resources plays a critical role in food security and environment sustainability. Innovative irrigation technologies and practices may enhance agricultural water efficiency and production, in the meantime decrease the water demand and quality issues. I am very pleased to invite you to submit manuscripts in agricultural irrigation which assess current challenges and offer improvement approaches and opportunities for future irrigation.

Dr. Aliasghar Montazar
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Keywords

  • Agricultural Irrigation
  • Agricultural Irrigation Tools and Technologies
  • Agricultural Water Management
  • Agricultural Water Quality
  • Agricultural Water Use Efficiency

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Soil Water Infiltration Model for Sprinkler Irrigation Control Strategy: A Case for Tea Plantation in Yangtze River Region
Agriculture 2019, 9(10), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9100206 - 20 Sep 2019
Abstract
The sprinkler irrigation method is widely applied in tea farms in the Yangtze River region, China, which is the most famous tea production area. Knowledge of the optimal irrigation time for the sprinkler irrigation system is vital for making the soil moisture range [...] Read more.
The sprinkler irrigation method is widely applied in tea farms in the Yangtze River region, China, which is the most famous tea production area. Knowledge of the optimal irrigation time for the sprinkler irrigation system is vital for making the soil moisture range consistent with the root boundary to attain higher yield and water use efficiency. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of soil water infiltration and redistribution under the irrigation water applications rates of 4 mm/h, 6 mm/h, and 8 mm/h, and the slope gradients of 0°, 5°, and 15°. A new soil water infiltration model was established based on water application rate and slope gradient. Infiltration experimental results showed that soil water infiltration rate increased with the application rate when the slope gradient remained constant. Meanwhile, it decreased with the increase in slope gradient at a constant water application rate. In the process of water redistribution, the increment of volumetric water content (VWC) increased at a depth of 10 cm as the water application rate increased, which affected the ultimate infiltration depth. When the slope gradient was constant, a lower water application rate extended the irrigation time, but increased the ultimate infiltration depth. At a constant water application rate, the infiltration depth increased with the increase in slope gradient. As the results showed in the infiltration model validation experiments, the infiltration depths measured were 38.8 cm and 41.1 cm. The relative errors between measured infiltration depth and expected value were 3.1% and 2.7%, respectively, which met the requirement of the soil moisture range consistent with the root boundary. Therefore, this model could be used to determine the optimal irrigation time for developing a sprinkler irrigation control strategy for tea fields in the Yangtze River region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Irrigation) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Heat Management Practices in High Tunnels to Improve the Production of Romaine Lettuce
Agriculture 2019, 9(9), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9090203 - 14 Sep 2019
Abstract
A three-year experiment evaluated the beneficial effects of independent and combined practices on thermal conditions inside high tunnels (HTs), and further investigated the temperature impacts on lettuce production. Specific practices included mulching (polyethylene and biodegradable plastic films, and vegetative), row covers, cover crops, [...] Read more.
A three-year experiment evaluated the beneficial effects of independent and combined practices on thermal conditions inside high tunnels (HTs), and further investigated the temperature impacts on lettuce production. Specific practices included mulching (polyethylene and biodegradable plastic films, and vegetative), row covers, cover crops, and irrigation with collected rainwater or city water. The study conducted in eastern Tennessee was a randomized complete block split-split plot design (RCBD) with three HTs used as replicates to determine fall lettuce weight (g/plant) and lettuce survival (#/plot), and the changes in soil and air temperature. The black and clear plastic mulches worked best for increasing plant weight, but when compared to the bare ground, the higher soil temperature from the plastics may have caused a significant reduction in lettuce plants per plot. Moreover, the biodegradable mulch did not generate as much soil warming as black polyethylene, yet total lettuce marketable yield was statistically similar to that for the latter mulch treatment; while the white spunbond reduced plant weight when compared with black plastic. Also, row covers provided an increased nighttime air temperature that increased soil temperature, hence significantly increased lettuce production. Cover crops reduced lettuce yield, but increased soil temperatures. Additionally, irrigation using city water warmed the soil and provided more nutrients for increased lettuce production over rainwater irrigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Irrigation) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Research Advances in Adopting Drip Irrigation for California Organic Spinach: Preliminary Findings
Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080177 - 09 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The main objective of this study was to explore the viability of drip irrigation for organic spinach production and the management of spinach downy mildew disease in California. The experiment was conducted over two crop seasons at the University of California Desert Research [...] Read more.
The main objective of this study was to explore the viability of drip irrigation for organic spinach production and the management of spinach downy mildew disease in California. The experiment was conducted over two crop seasons at the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center located in the low desert of California. Various combinations of dripline spacings and installation depths were assessed and compared with sprinkler irrigation as control treatment. Comprehensive data collection was carried out to fully understand the differences between the irrigation treatments. Statistical analysis indicated very strong evidence for an overall effect of the irrigation system on spinach fresh yields, while the number of driplines in bed had a significant impact on the shoot biomass yield. The developed canopy crop curves revealed that the leaf density of drip irrigation treatments was slightly behind (1–4 days, depending on the irrigation treatment and crop season) that of the sprinkler irrigation treatment in time. The results also demonstrated an overall effect of irrigation treatment on downy mildew, in which downy mildew incidence was lower in plots irrigated by drips following emergence when compared to the sprinkler. The study concluded that drip irrigation has the potential to be used to produce organic spinach, conserve water, enhance the efficiency of water use, and manage downy mildew, but further work is required to optimize system design, irrigation, and nitrogen management practices, as well as strategies to maintain productivity and economic viability of utilizing drip irrigation for spinach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Irrigation) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Deficit Drip Irrigation in Processing Tomato Production in the Mediterranean Basin. A Data Analysis for Italy
Agriculture 2019, 9(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9040079 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In this study, the effects of deficit irrigation (DI) on crop yields and irrigation water utilization efficiency (IWUE) of processing tomato are contrasting. This study aimed at analyzing a set of field experiments with drip irrigation available for Mediterranean Italy in terms of [...] Read more.
In this study, the effects of deficit irrigation (DI) on crop yields and irrigation water utilization efficiency (IWUE) of processing tomato are contrasting. This study aimed at analyzing a set of field experiments with drip irrigation available for Mediterranean Italy in terms of marketable yields and IWUE under DI. Both yields and IWUE were compared with the control treatment under full irrigation, receiving the maximum water restoration (MWR) in each experiment. The study also aimed at testing the effect of climate (aridity index) and soil parameters (texture). Main results indicated that yields would marginally decrease at 70–80% of MWR and variable irrigation regimes during the crop cycle resulted in higher crop yields. However, results were quite variable and site-dependent. In fact, DI proved more effective in fine textured soils and semiarid climates. We recommend that further research should address variable irrigation regimes and soil and climate conditions that proved more unfavorable in terms of crop response to DI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Irrigation) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Studying Crop Yield Response to Supplemental Irrigation and the Spatial Heterogeneity of Soil Physical Attributes in a Humid Region
Agriculture 2019, 9(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9020043 - 23 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
West Tennessee’s supplemental irrigation management at a field level is profoundly affected by the spatial heterogeneity of soil moisture and the temporal variability of weather. The introduction of precision farming techniques has enabled farmers to collect site-specific data that provide valuable quantitative information [...] Read more.
West Tennessee’s supplemental irrigation management at a field level is profoundly affected by the spatial heterogeneity of soil moisture and the temporal variability of weather. The introduction of precision farming techniques has enabled farmers to collect site-specific data that provide valuable quantitative information for effective irrigation management. Consequently, a two-year on-farm irrigation experiment in a 73 ha cotton field in west Tennessee was conducted and a variety of farming data were collected to understand the relationship between crop yields, the spatial heterogeneity of soil water content, and supplemental irrigation management. The soil water content showed higher correlations with soil textural information including sand (r = −0.9), silt (r = 0.85), and clay (r = 0.83) than with soil bulk density (r = −0.27). Spatial statistical analysis of the collected soil samples (i.e., 400 samples: 100 locations at four depths from 0–1 m) showed that soil texture and soil water content had clustered patterns within different depths, but BD mostly had random patterns. ECa maps tended to follow the same general spatial patterns as those for soil texture and water content. Overall, supplemental irrigation improved the cotton lint yield in comparison to rainfed throughout the two-year irrigation study, while the yield response to supplemental irrigation differed across the soil types. The yield increase due to irrigation was more pronounced for coarse-textured soils, while a yield reduction was observed when higher irrigation water was applied to fine-textured soils. In addition, in-season rainfall patterns had a profound impact on yield and crop response to supplemental irrigation regimes. The spatial analysis of the multiyear yield data revealed a substantial similarity between yield and plant-available water patterns. Consequently, variable rate irrigation guided with farming data seems to be the ideal management strategy to address field level spatial variability in plant-available water, as well as temporal variability in in-season rainfall patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Irrigation) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Calibration and Global Sensitivity Analysis for a Salinity Model Used in Evaluating Fields Irrigated with Treated Wastewater in the Salinas Valley
Agriculture 2019, 9(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9020031 - 01 Feb 2019
Abstract
Treated wastewater irrigation began two decades ago in the Salinas Valley of California and provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the long-term effects of this strategy on soil salinization. We used data from a long-term field experiment that included application of a range [...] Read more.
Treated wastewater irrigation began two decades ago in the Salinas Valley of California and provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the long-term effects of this strategy on soil salinization. We used data from a long-term field experiment that included application of a range of blended water salinity on vegetables, strawberries and artichoke crops using surface and pressurized irrigation systems to calibrate and validate a root zone salinity model. We first applied the method of Morris to screen model parameters that have negligible influence on the output (soil-water electrical conductivity (ECsw)), and then the variance-based method of Sobol to select parameter values and complete model calibration and validation. While model simulations successfully captured long-term trends in soil salinity, model predictions underestimated ECsw for high ECsw samples. The model prediction error for the validation case ranged from 2.6% to 39%. The degree of soil salinization due to continuous application of water with electrical conductivity (ECw) of 0.57 dS/m to 1.76 dS/m depends on multiple factors; ECw and actual crop evapotranspiration had a positive effect on ECsw, while rainfall amounts and fallow had a negative effect. A 50-year simulation indicated that soil water equilibrium (ECsw ≤ 2dS/m, the initial ECsw) was reached after 8 to 14 years for vegetable crops irrigated with ECw of 0.95 to 1.76. Annual salt output loads for the 50-year simulation with runoff was a magnitude greater (from 305 to 1028 kg/ha/year) than that in deep percolation (up to 64 kg/ha/year). However, for all sites throughout the 50-year simulation, seasonal root zone salinity (saturated paste extract) did not exceed thresholds for salt tolerance for the selected crop rotations for the range of blended applied water salinities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Irrigation) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
The Efficiencies, Environmental Impacts and Economics of Energy Consumption for Groundwater-Based Irrigation in Oklahoma
Agriculture 2019, 9(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9020027 - 01 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Irrigation pumping is a major expense of agricultural operations, especially in arid/semi-arid areas that extract large amounts of water from deep groundwater resources. Studying and improving pumping efficiencies can have direct impacts on farm net profits and on the amount of greenhouse gases [...] Read more.
Irrigation pumping is a major expense of agricultural operations, especially in arid/semi-arid areas that extract large amounts of water from deep groundwater resources. Studying and improving pumping efficiencies can have direct impacts on farm net profits and on the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted from pumping plants. In this study, the overall pumping efficiency (OPE), the GHG emissions, and the costs of irrigation pumping were investigated for electric pumps extracting from the Rush Springs (RS) aquifer in central Oklahoma and the natural gas-powered pumps tapping the Ogallala (OG) aquifer in the Oklahoma Panhandle. The results showed that all electric plants and the majority of natural gas plants operated at OPE levels below achievable standard levels. The total emission from the plants in the OG region was 49% larger than that from plants in the RS region. However, the emission per unit irrigated area and unit total dynamic head of pumping was 4% smaller for the natural gas plants in the OG area. A long-term analysis conducted over the 2001–2017 period revealed that 34% and 19% reductions in energy requirements and 52% and 20% decreases in GHG emissions can be achieved if the OPE were improved to achievable standards for plants in the RS and OG regions, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Irrigation Water Regimes on Yield of Tetragonia Tetragonioides
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010022 - 15 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The main purpose of this experiment was to study the effect of several irrigation water regimes on Tetragonia tetragonioides (Pall) O. Kuntze in semi-arid regions. During the experiment period, it was measured that several irrigation regimes were affected in terms of growth, biomass [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this experiment was to study the effect of several irrigation water regimes on Tetragonia tetragonioides (Pall) O. Kuntze in semi-arid regions. During the experiment period, it was measured that several irrigation regimes were affected in terms of growth, biomass production, total yield, mineral composition, and photosynthetic pigments. The experiment was conducted in the greenhouse at the University of Algarve (Portugal). The study lasted from February to April in 2010. Three irrigation treatments were based on replenishing the 0.25-m-deep pots to field capacity when the soil water level was dropped to 70% (T1, wet treatment), 50% (T2, medium treatment), and 30% (T3, dry treatment) of the available water capacity. The obtained results showed that the leaf mineral compositions of chloride and sodium, the main responsible ions for soil salinization and alkalization in arid and semi-arid regions, enhanced with the decrease in soil water content. However, the minimum amounts of chlorophyll, carotenoids, and soluble carbohydrates in the leaf content were obtained in the medium and driest treatments. On the other hand, growth differences among the several irrigation regimes were very low, and the crop yield increased in the dry treatment compared to the medium treatment; thus, the high capacity of salt-removing species suggested an advantage of its cultivation under dry conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Benchmarking and Principal Component Analysis in Measuring Performance of Public Irrigation Schemes in Kenya
Agriculture 2018, 8(10), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8100162 - 12 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The inefficient water use, and variable and low productivity in Kenyan public irrigation schemes is a major concern. It is, therefore, necessary to periodically monitor and evaluate the performance of public irrigation schemes. This prompted evaluation of performance of three rice growing irrigation [...] Read more.
The inefficient water use, and variable and low productivity in Kenyan public irrigation schemes is a major concern. It is, therefore, necessary to periodically monitor and evaluate the performance of public irrigation schemes. This prompted evaluation of performance of three rice growing irrigation schemes in western Kenya using benchmarking and principal component analysis. The aim of the study was to quantify and rank the performance of selected irrigation schemes. The performance of the irrigation schemes was evaluated for the period from 2012 to 2016 using eleven performance indicators under agricultural productivity, water supply and financial performance categories. The performance indicators were weighted using principal component analysis and combined to form a single performance score using linear aggregation method. The average performance in the Ahero, West Kano and Bunyala irrigation schemes was 48%, 49% and 56%, respectively. Based on performance score, the Bunyala irrigation scheme is the highest performing rice irrigation scheme in western Kenya. The three irrigation schemes have an average performance. Operation and management measures to improve the current performance of the irrigation schemes are needed. Full article
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Open AccessBrief Report
Adjustment of Irrigation Schedules as a Strategy to Mitigate Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture in Cyprus
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010004 - 21 Dec 2018
Abstract
The study aimed at investigating eventual deviations from typical recommendations of irrigation water application to crops in Cyprus given the undeniable changes in recent weather conditions. It focused on the seasonal or monthly changes in crop evapotranspiration (ETc) and net irrigation requirements (NIR) [...] Read more.
The study aimed at investigating eventual deviations from typical recommendations of irrigation water application to crops in Cyprus given the undeniable changes in recent weather conditions. It focused on the seasonal or monthly changes in crop evapotranspiration (ETc) and net irrigation requirements (NIR) of a number of permanent and annual crops over two consecutive overlapping periods (1976–2000 and 1990–2014). While the differences in the seasonal ETc and NIR estimates were not statistically significant between the studied periods, differences were identified via a month-by-month comparison. In March, the water demands of crops appeared to be significantly greater during the recent past in relation to 1976–2000, while for NIR, March showed statistically significant increases and September showed significant decreases. Consequently, the adjustment of irrigation schedules to climate change by farmers should not rely on annual trends as an eventual mismatch of monthly crop water needs with irrigation water supply might affect the critical growth stages of crops with a disproportionately greater negative impact on yields and quality. The clear increase in irrigation needs in March coincides with the most sensitive growth stage of irrigated potato crops in Cyprus. Therefore, the results may serve as a useful tool for current and future adaptation measures. Full article
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