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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Soil Water Extraction by Alfalfa1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 67 No. 4, p. 586-589

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  1. L. J. Brun and
  2. B. K. Worcester2



Saline seeps have developed because of the accumulation of water beyond the rooting zone of annual crops. The purpose of this experiment was to show the potential of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) to extract soil water under a variety of textural and salinity conditions. Soils examined belong to suborders Ustoll and Boroll.

Core samples were taken in alfalfa fields and fields under crop-fallow management to evaluate their present water content, 15 atm. percentage, texture, and salinity level.

Significant extraction of soil water occurs to depths of 3 to 4 m. Alfalfa extracted soil water held at a tension greater than 15 at m. in both saline and non-saline segments of the soil profile. A minimum soil moisture level was reached at the 1.22 to 2.44 m depth in alfalfa fields maintained 5 years.

Alfalfa is an invaluable crop for reducing soil wetness to alleviate the saline-seep problems of western North Dakota and eastern Montana.

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