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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 60 No. 5, p. 545-549
    Received: Mar 30, 1968

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A Precision Weighing Lysimeter for Row Crop Water Use Studies1

  1. Joe T. Ritchie and
  2. Earl Burnett2



A relatively simple and economical weighing lysimeter specifically designed for evaluating hourly row crop water use under dryland conditions has been developed and tested. The lysimeter soil container is 1.83 m (6.0 ft) square by 1.22 m (4.0 ft) deep. This allows a representative rooting profile for two rows of crop spaced 0.92 m (3.0 ft) apart and also allows normal soil shrinkage cracks to form within the soil mass. The thin soil container and retaining tank walls are separated by a 10-mm air gap, resulting in a surface disturbance of only 4.5% of the lysimeter area. Soil water suction at the bottom of the soil container is controlled. A commercially available floor stand tank scale lever assembly is used to transfer up to 600 kg of the total lysimeter weight to a precision strain gauge load cell, the remainder being counter-balanced under the lysimeter. The sensitivity of the system (± 0.025 mm equivalent water weight change) is adequate for short-period evaporative flux measurements. The electrical output signal from the load cell can be measured remotely, minimizing site disturbance. The weighing mechanism has suitable utility for other weighing lysimeter applications.

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