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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 5_Supplement, p. S-169-S-179
    Received: Sept 4, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): donald.suarez@ars.usda.gov
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Infiltration into Cropped Soils: Effect of Rain and Sodium Adsorption Ratio–Impacted Irrigation Water

  1. Donald L. Suarez *a,
  2. James D. Wooda and
  3. Scott M. Leschb
  1. a USDA-ARS, Salinity Lab., 450 W. Big Springs Road, Riverside, CA 92507
    b Dep. of Environmental Science, Univ. of California- Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521


The sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) and salinity criteria for water suitability for irrigation have been developed for conditions where irrigation water is the only water source. It is not clear that these criteria are applicable to environments where there is a combination of rain and irrigation during the growing season. The interaction of rainfall with irrigation water is expected to result in increased sodicity hazard because of the low electrical conductivity of rain. In this study we examined the effects of irrigation waters of SAR 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 mmol1/2 L−1/2 and electrical conductivities of 1 and 2 dS m−1 on the infiltration rate of two soils with alternating cycles of rain (simulated with a rainfall sprinkler) and irrigation water, separated by drying cycles. The infiltration rate of surface samples from two soils, Kobase silty clay (fine, smectitic, frigid, Torrertic Haplustept) and Glendive very fine sandy loam (coarse-loamy, mixed superactive, calcareous, frigid Aridic Ustifluvent) were evaluated under alfalfa (Medicago sativa) cropped conditions for over 140 d and under full canopy cover. Reductions in infiltration were observed for both soils for SAR above 2, and the reductions became more severe with increasing SAR. Saturated hydraulic conductivity measurements taken from undisturbed cores at the end of the experiment were highly variable, suggesting that in situ infiltration measurements may be preferred when evaluating SAR effects.

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Copyright © 2008. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyAmerican Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America