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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 84 No. 4, p. 668-675
    Received: Apr 1, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Reducing Erosion from Surface Irrigation by Furrow Spacing and Plant Position

  1. R. E. Sojka ,
  2. M. J. Brown and
  3. E. C. Kennedy-Ketcheson
  1. USDA-ARS Soil and Water Management Research Unit, 3793 N., 3600 E., Kimberly, Idaho 83341.



Erosion is a serious problem in many furrow-irrigated fields. Erosion abatement can be costly or inconvenient. Plant placement, row spacing, and choice of trafficked or non-trafficked furrow have not been thoroughly exploited for furrow erosion control. It was hypothesized that reducing furrow spacing and plant distance to the furrow would reduce erosion for equal amounts of water applied. A study in 1986 and 1987 observed the effect of narrow rows or twin rows with plants in close proximity to the furrow on infiltration, sediment loss, and yields in three crops grown under conventional tillage on a Portneuf silt loam (coarse-silty, mixed, mesic Durixerollic Calciorthids) with 1% slope. Yields of twin-row dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) significantly increased in both years (P < 0.05), whereas yield of sugarbeet or corn (Beta vulgaris L., or Zea Mays L.) were not affected significantly by any planting pattern. Sediment loss, runoff, and the ratio of sediment loss to infiltration were greatly reduced by twin-row configurations, and somewhat reduced, although less consistently, by narrow single-row configurations. The results point the way to a lowcost, low-maintenance method of reducing furrow erosion.

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