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Since most of the water available for irrigation in Southern Alberta has become allocated, the demand for improved efficiency in its use is increasing. Overwatering with subsequent deep percolation through the soil profile is one contributing cause of inefficiency. Although some leaching is necessary to maintain an appropriate salt balance in the crop root zone, this need not be part of each irrigation. In Southern Alberta, individual rains of 50 mm or more and drainage from winter moisture accumulations may provide enough leaching in most years. Deep percolation can be minimized by applying less water than is required to replenish the soil profile, but applying it frequently enough that moisture stress does not occur. Mechanized or automated sprinkler irrigation systems have provided the means to apply small amounts of water. Frequency of moisture replacement may vary from daily to several days. Some conflict exists in the literature, however, concerning the relative water-use efficiency (units of production per unit of water) of irrigating frequently but lightly. Keller (1965) reported that efficiency was directly related to depth of water stored at each irrigation, but Musick and Dusek (1971) increased water-use efficiency of sorghum by reducing water application depth from 10 to 5 cm. DeBoeretal.(1977) concluded that ,forcorn, water-use efficiencies were not affected by application depth.
frequent light irrigation scheduling to improve efficiency of water use
Hobbs, E.H. and K.K. Krogman 1978. FREQUENT LIGHT IRRIGATION SCHEDULING TO IMPROVE EFFICIENCY OF WATER USE. Canadian Agricultural Engineering 20(2):109-112.
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