Alfalfa Subsurface Drip Irrigation
Alfalfa Subsurface Drip Irrigation
Alfalfa Subsurface Drip Irrigation
University of California
Alfalfa Subsurface Drip Irrigation

Other Publications Relevant to SDI

DEFICIT IRRIGATION OF ALFALFA AND GRASSES: WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS/OPTIONS?

By Steve Orloff, Khaled Bali and Dan Putnam

Summary: Forage grasses and alfalfa differ significantly in their tolerance to water deficits. Partial season irrigation of alfalfa in a drought year is a viable practice, with partial-season yield losses depending upon soil type and climate. Most perennial pasture grasses are not as drought tolerant as alfalfa, and grass species and varieties differ greatly in drought tolerance. . . .[Read More]


TECHNOLOGIES FOR AUTOMATION IN SURFACE IRRIGATION

By Khaled Bali, Thomas Gill and Dale Lentz

Summary: Surface irrigation systems (mainly furrow and border irrigation) are the primary method of irrigation for field crops in California. The majority of water losses through these systems are either by surface runoff or through leaching or a combination of both. Various irrigation cutoff methods are used by irrigators to reduce surface runoff; however, the cutoff time can vary from 60 to 90% of the field length depending on irrigation flow rate, crop roughness, and field characteristics. . . .[Read More]


ADVANTAGES AND CONSTRAINTS OF SOIL MOISTURE MONITORING FOR RESOURCE-EFFICIENT IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT OF ALFALFA

By Daniele Zaccaria and Steve Orloff

Summary: Alfalfa is grown on nearly 1 million acres throughout California under all types of irrigation systems, and farmers often obtain sub-optimal yields as a result of improper irrigation management practices. In this respect, monitoring soil moisture has proved to be a cost-effective method to help farmers taking informed decisions about adequate irrigation timings and amounts. . . .[Read More]


IRRIGATION WATER MANAGEMENT OPTIONS FOR ALFALFA

By Larry Schwankl, Dan Putnam, Khaled Bali, and Daniele Zaccaria

Summary: All types of irrigation systems, including border strip flood systems, various types of sprinkler irrigation systems, and subsurface drip irrigation systems, are used to irrigate alfalfa. They all face challenges in irrigating efficiently while still economically producing high-quality, highyielding alfalfa. This paper discusses techniques and approaches to improving alfalfa irrigation water management.


KEY IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR ALFALFA

By Blake Sanden, Blaine Hanson and Khalid Bali

Summary: Alfalfa production is basically a linear function of plant transpiration and stomatal conductance that drives carbon dioxide uptake to build plant carbohydrates and biomass. . . .[Read More]


IRRIGATION CUTOFFS WITH ALFALFA – WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS?

By Mike Ottman

Summary: Alfalfa lends itself to irrigation strategies where less water is applied than is needed by the crop. The crop may recover after irrigations are returned to normal if the crop is not subjected to excessive stress. In this way, water may be used for other crops on the farm or transferred to municipalities. . . .[Read More]


IMPROVING FLOOD IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT IN ALFALFA

By Khaled M Bali, Blaine R. Hanson, and Blake L. Sanden

Summary: Alfalfa is the largest water user crop in the state of California grown on approximately one million acres of irrigated land (USDA, 2006). Alfalfa is the dominant crop in the Imperial Valley where more than 120,000 acres of alfalfa are grown using flood (surface) irrigation systems. Alfalfa crop water requirement under surface irrigation systems is in excess of 6 acre-feet/acre per year. . . .[Read More]


DEVELOPING ALFALFA VARIETIES FOR A WATER-CHALLENGED FUTURE

By Ian Ray

Summary: Large portions of the central and southern Great Plains and the western U.S. are regularly plagued by drought and diminishing water resources for irrigation. Alfalfa cultivars adapted to these regions, and that can remain productive under reduced irrigation allotments, are clearly needed. This paper summarizes some of the work that has been conducted to develop alfalfa cultivars that are less sensitive to drought stress. . . .[Read More]


SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION IN ALFALFA: A GROWER'S INITIAL EXPERIENCE

By Cannon Michael

Summary: To evaluate drip systems for alfalfa on our farm, we installed drip irrigation on one field from a block of four, all of which are flood irrigated. All were planted to the same variety and at roughly the same time. Detailed records were kept to track water use and hay production over the course of the 2009 season.


CONTROLLED DEFICIT IRRIGATION OF ALFALFA: Opportunities and Pitfalls

By Steve Orloff, Dan Putnam, Blaine Hanson, and Harry Carlson

Summary: Alfalfa uses approximately 18.7% the state’s agricultural water, a larger percentage than any other single crop. Reduced water availability for agriculture is probable in the coming years in many areas of the state, driven by urbanization and environmental demands. Therefore, examination of deficit irrigation strategies is warranted. More information is needed to determine the most profitable irrigation strategy to produce alfalfa with inadequate water supplies. . . .[Read More]


FORAGE PRODUCTION STRATEGIES WITH LIMITED WATER SUPPLIES

By Blake Sanden, Dan Putnam and Blaine Hanson

Summary: Vegetative forage production is basically a linear function of plant transpiration. Open stomata with lots of water vapor leaving the plant (transpiration) allows for maximum carbon dioxide uptake to build plant carbohydrates and biomass. . . .[Read More]


DEFICIT IRRIGATION OF ALFALFA AS A IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

By Blaine Hanson


STRATEGIES FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF WATER-USE EFFCIENT IRRIGATED ALFALFA SYSTEMS

By Dan Putnam

Summary: Irrigated alfalfa is the largest water user in California and most other western states. Although there are several important advantages of alfalfa with regards to water, as well as widely-held misunderstandings, long-term strategies for improvement of water-efficient alfalfa production systems are necessary to meet the needs of a growing population. . . .[Read More]


STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING CONSUMPTIVE USE OF ALFALFA

By Neil Hansen

Summary: There is increasing competition for a limited water supply throughout much of the western U.S. Urban and municipal water users, declining groundwater levels, and drought are factors that are leading to reduced irrigation water quantities for large areas of agricultural land. . . .[Read More]


STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING ALFALFA CONSUMPTIVE WATER USE

By Brad Lindenmayer, Neil Hansen, Mark Crookston, Joe Brummer, and Ajay Jha

Summary:  As competition builds for water resources in the Western U.S., limited irrigation strategies for crop production are emerging to conserve agricultural water for other uses or as a way to continue to produce crops under reduced water allocations. Alfalfa is a crop with potential for water savings in a limited irrigation system. The objective of this study was to evaluate potential water saving strategies for alfalfa on the Front Range of Colorado. . . .[Read More]


SUBOPTIMAL IRRIGATION STRATEGIES FOR ALFALFA IN THE LOWER COLORADO REGION, 2009

By Michael J. Ottman

Summary:  Alfalfa has the highest water requirement of any crop grown in Arizona, and any strategies that conserve water growing this crop could have a large impact on water availability in the state. The purpose of this study is to determine yield and profitability of sub-optimal irrigation strategies in alfalfa. An irrigation study was conducted at the University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural Center on a sandy clay loam soil. . . . .[Read More]


A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO OPTIMIZING SDI OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

By Inge Bisconer

Summary: An SDI system represents a significant investment which can reap substantial benefits if managed properly. Assuming system selection, design and installation were appropriate, proactive operation and maintenance techniques should be adopted to optimize SDI system performance. . . . .[Read More]


ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION

By José Payero, C. Dean Yonts, Suat Irmak, Davis Tarkalson


ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION

By Freddie R. Lamm

Summary: The advantages and disadvantages of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) as compared to alternative irrigation systems are conceptually discussed. Each category (advantages and disadvantages) is subdivided into three groups: 1) Water and soil issues; 2) Cropping and cultural practices, and 3) System infrastructure issues. . . . .[Read More]


ALFALFA PRODUCTION WITH SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION: GROW MORE ALFALFA WITH LESS WATER

By Freddie R. Lamm

Summary: Of the common agronomic crops, alfalfa consumes the largest amount of water. Its consumptive use can exceed 46 inches of water per year. The main reason growers are interested in using drip irrigation on alfalfa comes from the desire to better manage this increasingly expensive crop input. Alfalfa is a deep-rooted perennial forage crop that is mainly planted for hay production or grazing. . . .[Read More]


SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION FOR ALFALFA

By Mahbub Alam, Danny H. Rogers and Troy J. Dumler

Summary: The demand for alfalfa remains strong in Kansas due to the needs of the cattle feeding industry and the influx of largescale dairy operations. These industries are largely located in western Kansas. . . .[Read More]


DRIP IRRIGATION OF ALFALFA

By Jerry D. Neufeld

Summary: The Treasure Valley of Idaho produces many diversified and specialized crops. The primary irrigation systems are furrow and sprinker irrigation. Imperfect irrigation often results in loss of crop yield and quality through. . . .[Read More]


ALFALFA PRODUCTION USING SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION

By Rivera González Miguel, Sánchez Cohen Ignacio, and Estrada Avalos Juan

Summary: The study was established in a medium textured soil in a arid region of northern Mexico (Comarca Lagunera). Yearly average precipitation of the region is 250 mm having annual evaporation of 2500 mm. The overall objectives of the study were to evaluate dry matter production and to determine under which irrigation criteria the highest water use efficiency (WUE) index is obtained as well. . . .[Read More]


WHY FIELD CROP GROWERS LOVE DRIP IRRIGATION: Alfalfa, Corn, Cotton, Onions, Potatoes and Processing Tomatoes

By Inge Bisconer

Summary: Drip irrigation has long been proven as beneficial and economical on fruit, nut and vegetable crops throughout the world, but recently field crop growers are realizing the benefits as well. Adjustments in both attitude and cultural practices are necessary when converting from flood or sprinkler. . . .[Read More]


SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION FOR ALFALFA IN KANSAS

By Mahbub Alam, Todd Trooien, Steven Stone, and Danny Rogers

Summary: The result from a two year field study on suitability of using subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) for alfalfa provided some answers to alfalfa producers of Kansas. . . .[Read More]


DESIGN, INSTALLATION AND OPERATION MANUAL FOR SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEMS UTILIZING AEROBICALLY TREATED WASTEWATER

By B.L. Carlile

Summary: The Aerobic Drip Irrigation System disperses treated effluent through small drip irrigation tubing and emitters placed some six to twelve inches below the soil surface. A small trickle of treated wastewater is pumped through the system every one to four hours and discharged uniformly over a specified area to facilitate soil absorption of the water and allow maximum reuse of the water by lawn and landscape plants. . . .[Read More]


EFFECT OF DRIPLINE FLUSHING ON SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEMS

By J. Puig-Bargués, F. R. Lamm, T. P. Trooien, G. A. Clark

Summary: The velocity of dripline flushing in subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems affects system design, cost, management, performance, and longevity. A 30-day field study was conducted at Kansas State University to analyze the effect of four targeted flushing velocities (0.23, 0.30, 0.46, and 0.61 m/s) for a fixed 15 min duration of flushing and three flushing frequencies. . . .[Read More]


EFFECT OF SUB-SURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION AND SHADE ON SOIL MOISTURE UNIFORMITY IN RESIDENTIAL TURF

By Douglas L. Kieffer and Tom Campbell

Summary: Sub-surface irrigation in turf has advantages over traditional sprinkler systems. Evapotranspiration is reduced and water applied below the root zone promotes deeper root growth. Auditing such applications requires measurement of root-zone soil moisture. Data was taken on a private lawn that had just been rebuilt to include both sub-surface drip and overhead spray irrigation system. . . .[Read More]


FILTRATION AND MAINTENANCE CONSIDERATIONS FOR SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION (SDI) SYSTEMS

By Mahbub Alam, Todd Trooien, Freddie Lamm, and Danny Rogers

Summary: All irrigation systems require proper maintenance. Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems are no exception. The major cause of failures in SDI and other microirrigation systems worldwide is clogging. . . .[Read More]


SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION (SDI) COMPONENTS: MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

By Danny Rogers, Freddie Lamm, and Mahbub Alam

Summary: Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems provide water and nutrients directly to the plant root zone through built-in emitters on polyethylene tubes that are buried below the soil surface. . . . [Read More]


DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS FOR SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEMS

By Freddie Lamm, Danny Rogers and William Spurgeon

Summary: If the goal of the irrigator is to develop and operate a successful subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system, what is the purpose? Water conservation and water quality protection have often been cited as possible purposes to consider . . . . [Read More]


DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS FOR SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEMS

By Freddie Lamm, Danny Rogers and William Spurgeon

Summary: If the goal of the irrigator is to develop and operate a successful subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system, what is the purpose? Water conservation and water quality protection have often been cited as possible purposes to consider . . . . [Read More]


THE POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTION OF SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION TO WATER-SAVING AGRICULTURE IN THE WESTERN USA

By T.L. Thompson, Pang Huan-cheng and LI Yu-yi

Summary: Water shortages within the western USA are resulting in the adoption of water-saving agricultural practices within this region. Among the many possible methods for saving water in agriculture, the adoption of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) provides a potential solution to the problem of low water use efficiency. . . . [Read More]


AEROGATION: CROP ROOT-ZONE AERATION THROUGH SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM

By P. Vyrlas, M. Sakellariou-Makrantonaki, D. Kalfountzos

Summary: Subsurface drip irrigation as a source that provides the water directly to the root zone develops a saturated wetted front in the rhizosphere, particularly when the irrigation is close to 100% of evapotranspiration. Long duration irrigations collect root development around the drip emitters and relatively low hydraulic conductivity, mainly in heavy soils, lead to preservation of saturation in the root layer, resulting in lack of air. . . . [Read More]


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