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The Effects of Tillage and Tape Depth Placement in Drip Irrigation System

A. Khalilian, M. J. Sullivan, R. R. Hallman and W.B. Smith


Replicated tests were conducted at the Edisto Research & Education Center to determine effects of subsurface drip irrigation on soil compaction (subsoil vs. no subsoil) and to determine optimum depth of drip irrigation tube placement in coastal plain soils. Three lateral depths (8, 12, and 16 inches), three lateral spacings (under every row, under alternate row middles with and without under the row subsoiling) and a control (non-irrigated) were used.

The rate of water movement in the soil profile for plots with deep tillage was higher than plots without tillage. Soil surface moisture was higher in plots with laterals buried eight inches deep resulting in higher weed infestation than the rest of the treatments. Tillage significantly reduced soil compaction in the top 15 inches of the irrigated plot compared to no subsoiling. Also there was a significant reduction in cone index values in top 12 inches of dry land plots compared to irrigated lands without tillage operation. Subsoiled plots with irrigation laterals buried 16 inches deep had the least cone index values at depth of 6-18 inches.

Drip irrigation significantly increased lint yields compared to non-irrigated plots in both 1997 and 98. Depth of the irrigation tubes had an effect on cotton yield, increasing with depth in both under every row and using alternate row middles. There were no differences in yield between every vs. alternate row installation at any of the three placement depths. Deep tillage operation did not increased the cotton yield in 1997 compare to no-till planting because all plots in 1997 had some tillage provided during installation of the irrigation laterals. Although not statistically significant, plots with a deep tillage operation on average yielded 47-lb. lint/acre more than no-till plots.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1999 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 384 - 387
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Monday, Jun 21 1999