Rapid selection of a representative monitoring location of soil water content for irrigation scheduling using surface moisture-density gauge
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Department of Agriculture, Atomic Energy Commission of Syria, P.O. Box 6091, Damascus, Syria
Publish date: 2016-11-03
Int. Agrophys. 2016, 30(4): 483–491
Establishing a representative monitoring location of soil water content is important for agricultural water management. One of the challenges is to develop a field protocol for determining such a location with minimum costs. In this paper, we use the concept of time stability in soil water content to examine whether using a short term monitoring period is sufficient to identify a representative site of soil water content and, therefore, irrigation scheduling. Surface moisture-density gauge was used as a means for measuring soil water content. Variations of soil water content in space and time were studied using geostatistical tools. Measuring soil water content was made at 30 locations as nodes of a 6×8 m grid, six times during the growing season. A representative location for average soil water content estimation was allocated at the beginning of a season, and thereafter it was validated. Results indicated that the spatial pattern of soil water content was strongly temporally stable, explained by the relationship between soil water content and fine soil texture. Two field surveys of soil water content, conducted before and after the 1st irrigation, could be sufficient to allocate a representative location of soil water content, and for adequate irrigation scheduling of the whole field. Surface moisture-density gauge was found to be efficient for characterising time stability of soil water content under irrigated field conditions.