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In many agriculturally productive areas of the world, shallow water tables exist naturally or can form as a result of irrigation. Unsuitable water management practices on such areas can create problem soils and reduce crop production because of water-logging and accumulation of soluble salts within the rooting zone. Water management practices, which provide for proper drainage and timely irrigations, combined with proven tillage and crop ping sequences can create an environment in which plants can effectively utilize water from these shallow water tables without inducing problems. Recent research has shown that a properly managed shallow water table can be a very important source of water to supply crop needs and thus save considerable irrigation water and energy (Benz et al. 1981). Subirrigation involving controlled water tables has been practiced in the North central United States (Criddle and Kalisvaart 1967). Williamson and van Schilfgaarde (1965) found that maximum corn yields were obtained in a sandy North Carolina soil when the water table was from 76- to 86-cm below ground surface. In Nevada, Tovey (1963) determined that the optimum water table depth for maxi mum production of alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., was about 61 cm. Hiler (1969) showed that several crops respond favorably to shallow water tables. From lysimeter studies with constant water tables, Doering et al. (1977) and Reichman et al. (unpubl. data) determined that maximum production on sandy soils was obtained with water table depths of 1.0 m for corn and 1.1 m for sugarbeets.
water table and irrigation effects on alfalfa grown on sandy soils
Benz, L. C., Doering, E. J. and G. A. Reichman 1982. WATER TABLE AND IRRIGATION EFFECTS ON ALFALFA GROWN ON SANDY SOILS. Canadian Agricultural Engineering 24(2):71-76.
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