University of California

Alternative techniques improve irrigation and nutrient management on dairies


Larry Schwankl
Carol Frate

Authors Affiliations

L. Schwankl is Irrigation Specialist, UC Cooperative Extension, UC Davis; C. Frate is Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 58(3):159-163. DOI:10.3733/ca.v058n03p159. July 2004.

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Many of the dairies in California's Central Valley use a water flush system for manure handling; the manure water is eventually mixed with freshwater and applied to cropland during irrigation. Good performance during irrigation applications is important due to the nutrients in the manure water. This project evaluated alternative management techniques (furrow torpedoes, surge irrigation and shortening furrow lengths) for improving irrigation practices on dairies. All three techniques reduced the amount of water required for irrigation. The project also investigated the impact of changing the timing of manurewater additions to the fresh irrigation water. Delaying the addition of manure water until the advancing fresh irrigation water had reached approximately 80% of the distance down the field improved nutrient-application uniformity and reduced nutrient applications.


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Schwankl L, Frate C. 2004. Alternative techniques improve irrigation and nutrient management on dairies. Hilgardia 58(3):159-163. DOI:10.3733/ca.v058n03p159
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