Evaluation of Fertigation Uniformity in Furrow Irrigation



The application of fertilizer through irrigation water (fertigation) is an efficient and cost-effective method in which crop yield increases while potential environmental problems related to conventional application methods reduced. In this study, distribution uniformity of fertigation in different furrow irrigation regimes is evaluated, a numerical fertigation model established, calibrated and validated. Conducted experiments includ: injection of fertilizer only during the first half of the irrigation event (FH), injection during the second half (SH) and injection during the entire irrigation event (T). These options were conducted under free draining as well as under blocked-end conditions with two replications. All the experiments were conducted through cutback method. Potassium nitrate was used as fertilizer in the experiments. Distribution uniformity of low half (DULH) and low quarter (DULQ) of water and fertilizer was assessed to evaluate different fertigation scenarios. A sensitivity analysis approach was also performed to assess the effects of longitudinal dispersivity parameter on overland solute transport. The results show that DULH has significantly differs within the three application times (FH, SH, T). That shows injection in the second half of the irrigation event is more appropriate than injection in the first half and during the entire irrigation event as based on the results. The best case is injection in the second half of the irrigation event preferably starting before completion of the advance phase and in blocked-end conditions. Because in this case, solute losses due to runoff from the outlet is zero and also distribution uniformity is somewhat higher whereas in free-draining conditions fertilizer application during the first half of irrigation provide acceptable fertilizer uniformity and least losses due to runoff. Results of the model show that the best case would be injection in the second half of the irrigation event with blocked-end conditions. No significant difference was observed between distribution uniformity of free-draining and blocked-end experiments. It was found that dispersivity parameter doesn’t affect the fertigation uniformity. A value of 5 cm for dispersivity provided a reasonable fit to the experimental data.