New Waves July 2010

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

Sub-surface irrigation system could yield big benefits for crops

A Texas AgriLife Research sub-surface irrigation study could reveal ways that will lead to higher crop yields and save water annually.

Dr. Tom Cothren, AgriLife Research crop physiologist and professor at Texas A&M University in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, is leading a project that uses a drip system to deliver water to plants rather than traditional furrow irrigation.

"Sub-surface irrigation reduces water loss from evaporation that occurs from above-ground applications and places water in the root zone where the crop can make most efficient use of its presence,” Cothren said. “This system also eliminates runoff associated with furrow irrigation."

The benefits are more uniform application of water to a specific crop, Cothren said.

"Efficient use of water to a crop is becoming more important with more demands for water in both the rural and urban areas."

The study is also examining the loss of water due to evaporation on the soil surface. A benefit of a sub-surface irrigation system is the elimination of water runoff and the ability to reduce crop stress through frequent low-volume applications of water.

To read the full AgriLife News story and watch a related video, visit here.

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