University of California

Use of saline irrigation waters and minimal leaching for crop production


W. A. Jury
H. Frenkel
H. Fluhler
D. Devitt
L. H. Stolzy

Authors Affiliations

William A. Jury was Associate Professor of Soil Physics, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Riverside; Haim Frenkel was (presently at the Institute of Soils and Water, Bet Dagan, Israel) was Associate Specialist, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Riverside; Hannes Fluhler was Assistant Research Soil Physicist, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Riverside; Dale Devitt was Staff Research Associate, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Riverside; Lewis H. Stolzy was Professor of Soil Physics, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Riverside.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 46(5):169-192. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v46n05p169. June 1978.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


An experiment in 24 lysimeters irrigated with water at three salinity levels is reported. Two crops—wheat and sorghum, were grown in the lysimeters, each of which contained one of four soil types—two clay loams and two sandy loams. Hydraulic conductivity, water potential, and water capacity were measured as functions of volumetric water content in nine of the lysimeters at the beginning of the experiment. Afterward, wheat, followed by sorghum and a second wheat crop, were grown while irrigated with water of 2.2, 4.2, or 7.1 mmho per cm electrical conductivity. There were no yield differences among treatments in the first wheat crop, because most of the growth was completed before yield-limiting levels of soil salinity were developed. Yields in the medium- and high-salinity treatments were reduced by 6 and 28 percent, respectively, compared with yield from the low-salinity treatment. Evapotranspiration was reduced 7 and 15 percent respectively, for the same treatments. Yield and evapotranspiration were substantially reduced in all treatments of the second wheat crops. The grain yield of the low-, medium-, and high-salinity irrigation treatments averaged 76, 72, and 54 percent of the corresponding yields in the first wheat crop. Salt precipitation averaged about 55 percent of the applied amount for all salinity treatments over the entire experiment. Profile salinization was still incomplete at the end of the third crop, a consequence of the low (10 percent) leaching fractions in all lysimeters.

Literature Cited

Bernstein L. Crop growth and salinity. Agronomy. 1974. 17:39-54.

Biggar J. W., Nielsen D. R. Spatial variability of the leaching characteristics of a field soil. Water Resources Res. 1976. 12:78-84. DOI: 10.1029/WR012i001p00078 [CrossRef]

Doorenbos J., Pruitt W. O. Crop water requirements. 1975. Rome: FAO. Irrigation and Drainage Paper 24

Dutt G. R., Tanji K. K. Predicting concentrations of solutes in water percolated through a column of soil. J. Geophys. Res. 1962. 67:3437-39. DOI: 10.1029/JZ067i009p03437 [CrossRef]

Feddes R. A., Bresler E., Neuman S. P. Field test of a modified numerical model for water uptake by root systems. Water Resources Res. 1974. 10:1199-1206. DOI: 10.1029/WR010i006p01199 [CrossRef]

Fluhler H., Ardakani M. S., Szuszkiewicz T. E., Stolzy L. H. Field measured water uptake of sudan grass roots affected by fertilization. Agron. J. 1977. 69:269-73. DOI: 10.2134/agronj1977.00021962006900020017x [CrossRef]

Ingvalson R. D., Rhoades J. D., Page A. L. Correlation of alfalfa yield with various indexes of salinity. Soil Sci. 1976. 122:145-53. DOI: 10.1097/00010694-197609000-00004 [CrossRef]

Jensen M. E. Scientific irrigation scheduling for salinity control of irrigation return flows 1975. Environmental Protection Technology Series 600/2-75-064

Jury W. A., Fluhler H., Stolzy L. H. Influence of soil properties, leaching fraction and plant water uptake on solute concentration distribution. Water Resources Res. 1977. 13:645-50. DOI: 10.1029/WR013i003p00645 [CrossRef]

King L. G., Hanks R. J. Management practices affecting quality and quantity of irrigation return flows 1975. Environmental Protection Technology Series 660/2-75-005

McNeal B. L. Predicting of the effect of mixed salt solutions on soil hydraulic conductivity. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 1968. 32:190-93. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1968.03615995003200020013x [CrossRef]

McNeal B. L., Oster J. D., Hatcher J. T. Calculation of electrical conductivity from solution composition data as an aid to in-situ estimation of soil salinity. Soil Sci. 1970. 110:405-14. DOI: 10.1097/00010694-197012000-00008 [CrossRef]

Moses R. J. Where is the water coming from? In Cooling Towers. Amer. Inst. Chem. Eng. CEP Tech. Man. 1972. pp.42-46.

Nielsen D. R., Biggar J. W. Miscible displacement: III. Theoretical considerations. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 1962. 26:216-21. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1962.03615995002600030010x [CrossRef]

Oster J. D., McNeal B. L. Computation of soil solution composition variation with water content for desaturated soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 1971. 35:436-42. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1971.03615995003500030030x [CrossRef]

Oster J. D., Rhoades J. D. Calculated drainage water compositions and salt burdens resulting from irrigation with river waters in the Western United States. J. Environ. Qual. 1975. 4:73-79. DOI: 10.2134/jeq1975.00472425000400010017x [CrossRef]

Pratt P. F., Cannell G. H., Garber M. J., Bair F. L. Effect of three nitrogen fertilizers on gains, losses and distribution of various elements in irrigated lysimeters. Hilgardia. 1967. 38(8):265-83. DOI: 10.3733/hilg.v38n08p265 [CrossRef]

Pratt P. F., Davis S., Laag A. E. Manure management in an irrigated basin relative to salt leaching to groundwater. J. Env. Qual. 1977. 6:397-401. DOI: 10.2134/jeq1977.00472425000600040013x [CrossRef]

Raats P. A. C. Movement of water and salts under high frequency irrigation 1974. Proc. 2nd Int. Drip Irrig. Congr.: 222-27. San Diego, CA

Raats P. A. C. Distribution of salts in the root zone. J. Hydrol. 1975. 27:237-48. DOI: 10.1016/0022-1694(75)90057-8 [CrossRef]

Rawlins S. L. Principles of managing high frequency irrigation. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 1974. 37:626-29. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1973.03615995003700040041x [CrossRef]

Rawlins S. L. Tailoring salt management solutions to basin hydrology 1976. Proc. of Conf. “Salt and Salinity Management,” Santa Barbara, CA

Rhoades J. D. Drainage for salinity control. Agronomy. 1974. 17:433-70.

Rhoades J. D., Ingvalson R. D., Tucker J. M., Clark M. Salts in irrigation waters. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 1973. 37:770-74. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1973.03615995003700050038x [CrossRef]

Rhoades J. D., Oster J. D., Ingvalson R. D., Tucker J. M., Clark M. Minimizing the salt burdens of irrigation drainage waters. J. Env. Qual. 1974. 3:311-16. DOI: 10.2134/jeq1974.00472425000300040002x [CrossRef]

Rhoades J. D., Merrill S. FAO Soils Bull. 1976. 31:69-109.

Rhoades J. D., Suarez D. L. Minimized leaching for reducing water quality degradation: Advantages and limitations. 1976. Santa Barbara, CA: Proc. of Conf. “Salt and Salinity Management,”.

Rhoades J. D., van Schilfgaarde J. An electrical conductivity probe for determining soil salinity. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. J. 1976. 40:647-50. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1976.03615995004000050016x [CrossRef]

Rose C. W., Stern W. R., Drummond J. E. Determination of hydraulic conductivity as a function of depth and water content for soil in situ. Aust. J. Soil Res. 1965. 3:1-9. DOI: 10.1071/SR9650001 [CrossRef]

van Schilfgaarde J., Bernstein L., Rhoades J. D., Rawlins S. L. Irrigation management for salt control. J. Irrig. Drainage Div., American Society of Civil Engineers. 1974. 100:321-38.

Tanji K. K., Dutt G. R., Paul J. L., Doneen L. D. Quality of percolating waters. Hilgardia. 1967. 38(9):285-347. DOI: 10.3733/hilg.v38n09p285 [CrossRef]

Jury W, Frenkel H, Fluhler H, Devitt D, Stolzy L. 1978. Use of saline irrigation waters and minimal leaching for crop production. Hilgardia 46(5):169-192. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v46n05p169
Webmaster Email: sjosterman@ucanr.edu