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Kumar, H; Srivastava, P; Lamba, J; Lena, B; Diamantopoulos, E; Ortiz, B; Takhellambam, B; Morata, G; Bondesan, Luca: A methodology to optimize site-specific field capacity and irrigation thresholds, Agricultural Water Management, 286 (2023), online: 2023-08-01, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2023.108385
The determination of field capacity (FC), irrigation thresholds, and irrigation amounts is characterized by site-specific soil hydraulic properties (SHPs). This study, conducted in two zones (zone 1 and zone 2) delineated based on soil, topography, and historical crop yield in Alabama (USA), focused on determining zone-specific FC using negligible drainage flux criterion. The HYDRUS-1D model was used to optimize zone-specific SHPs using measured soil matric potential ( ). The zone-specific FCs were determined using optimized and raw SHPs at 0.01 cm/day as . The results showed that the optimized FC at was at −39 kPa in zone 1 and raw FC was at −15 kPa. However, in zone 2, optimized FC was at −25 kPa and raw FC was at −59 kPa. To validate that optimized values are more accurate than raw values, a relationship between accumulated crop evapotranspiration ( ) and required irrigation amount was determined using optimized parameters (SHPs and FC) and showed a stronger correlation in both zones than using raw parameters (SHPs and FC). At flux-based FC, the optimized irrigation thresholds and amounts in zone 1 were −88 kPa and 20 mm, and raw irrigation threshold and amount were −58 kPa and 33 mm, respectively. In zone 2, the optimized irrigation thresholds and amounts were −45 kPa and 18 mm, and raw irrigation threshold and amount were −116 kPa and 14 mm, respectively. Therefore, using raw and benchmark FC can result in inefficient irrigation strategies. The proposed novel method of optimizing zone-specific FC and irrigation thresholds can help with adopting timely best irrigation management schemes in respective zones.
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