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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Bowen-Ratio Comparisons with Lysimeter Evapotranspiration


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 89 No. 5, p. 730-736
    Received: July 25, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): hatfield@nstl.gov
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  1. John H. Prueger,
  2. Jerry L. Hatfield ,
  3. J. Kristian Aase and
  4. Joseph L. Pikul Jr.
  1. U SDA-ARS, Northwest Irrigation and Soils Res. Lab., 3793 N. 3600 E., Kimberly, ID 83341
    U SDA-ARS, Northern Grain Insects Res. Lab., RR 3, Box 3, Brookings, SD 57006



Water use in agriculture by different cropping systems is of interest in determining crop water use efficiency of different tillage practices that will lead to reduced crop production risk. Lysimeters are considered the standard for evapotranspiration (ET) measurements; however, these units are often not replicated and are few in number at any given location. Our objective was to determine if a simple Bowenratio system with nonexchanging psychrometers could provide accurate measurements of ET from lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus) in semiarid climate. The study was conducted in 1993 and 1994 on two adjacent 180- by 180-m fields with weighing lysimeters (1.68 by 1.68 by 1.83 m) located in the center of each field, on a Williams loam (fine-loamy, mixed Typic Argiboroll) soil near Sidney, MT. A Bowen-ratio system comprised of two nonexchanging psychrometers and anemometers at 0.25 and 1.25 m above the plant canopy surface was placed in the lentil field along with a net radiometer and soil heat flux plate. Precipitation during the growing season from planting to swathing was 367 mm in 1993 and 227 mm in 1994. In 1993, soil water content of the lysimeter was greater than the field after large precipitation events around Day of Year (DOY) 210, even though the lysimeter was drained. After this time, the lysimeter ET exceeded that measured by the Bowen-ratio system. Agreement was closer in 1994, when precipitation was near normal and there was no excess soil water in the lysimeter. Cumulative ET totals from the lysimeter were reflective of the seasonal precipitation patterns. Differences between the iysimeter and Bowen-ratio occurred when there was excess precipitation and inadequate drainage from the lysimeter. Hailhourly ET fluxes from lysimeter and Bowen-ratio values agreed to within 10% throughout the season. Bowen-ratio systems with nonexchanging psychrometers can provide satisfactory estimates of daily and seasonal ET and can be used to estimate ET in semiarid climates.

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