FIELD INVESTIGATION OF THE VARIATION OF UNSATURATED FLOW UNDER SDI AND MESA IRRIGATED CULTIVATED FIELDS
Fenix, Ashley R
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The Texas High Plains (THP) are some of the most fertile spans of land for cultivated agriculture. But one hundred years of withdrawal from the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies the THP, have decreased the saturated thickness of this aquifer by nearly ten percent. Modern irrigation methods, such as Subsurface Drip (SDI) and Mid-Elevation Spray (MESA), have been developed to maximize crop water use efficiency and minimize unnecessary volume withdrawal to conserve water. This study compares MESA and SDI flux rates at a soil depth of 220 cm to compare differences in total water drained from a 20-ha site in Bushland, Texas. Using the mean flux rate (cm/s) calculated from a network of neutron access tubes, a one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tested the mean flux rates between SDI and MESA irrigation by week of the growing season. The results of this study show there was no significant differences in field drainage between the two irrigation methods.