The feasibility of using variable rate water application under a central pivot irrigation system

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The purpose of this paper was to assess the feasibility and significance of applying spatially variable irrigation under a central pivot system at the Federal German Agricultural Research Center, Braunschweig, Germany. The assessment was based on soil moisture holding capacity, soil depth variation and root development. Soil texture analysis was carried out by sampling on a 60 meter grid. The German Agro-Meteorological Model was applied to simulate the water balance in the crop-soil-atmosphere system for the growing season 2003/4. The research findings are presented in terms of six scenarios: 20, 30, 40 mm water application depths per irrigation under both variable rate application and uniform application. The comparison revealed that the loss of water was higher for the uniform application scenarios than that for the variable rate application (VRA) scenarios for the applications of 20 and 30 mm. The VRA scenario of 20 mm water application was found out to be the best option for water conservation.

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