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Polymer additives in irrigation water to reduce erosion and better manage water infiltration

Aditivos de polímero en agua de irrigación para reducir la erosión y darle un mejor manejo al agua de infiltración

Orts, William J. and Sojka, Robert E. and Glenn, Gregory M. (2002) Polymer additives in irrigation water to reduce erosion and better manage water infiltration. Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech. 13(4):37-41.


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Water-soluble polyacrylamide (PAM) was identified as an environmentally safe and highly effective erosion preventing and infiltration-enhancing polymer when applied in furrow irrigation water at 1-10 g m-3, i.e. 1-10 ppm. The agricultural use of polyacrylamide, PAM, as an additive in irrigation water has grown rapidly since commercial introduction in 1995 because it improves water infiltration and reduces erosion-induced soil losses up to 97%, saving tons of topsoil per hectare per year. Various polymers and biopolymers have long been recognized as viable soil conditioners because they stabilize soil surface structure and pore continuity. The new strategy of adding the conditioner, high molecular weight anionic PAM, to the irrigation water in the first several hours of irrigation enables a significant costs savings over traditional application methods of tilling soil conditoner into the entire (15 cm deep) soil surface layer. By adding PAM to the irrigation water, soil structure is Unproved in the all-important 1-5 mm thick layer at the soil/water interface of the 25 to 30% of field surface contacted by flowing water. Recent studies with biopolymers such as chitosan, charged polysaccharides, whey, and industrial cellulose derivatives show potential as biopolymer alternatives to PAM. Their success will depend on production economics.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1078
Subjects: Irrigation > Furrow irrigation > Erosion
Irrigation > Furrow irrigation > Infiltration
Soil > Erosion
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:50
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2016 16:12
Item ID: 140

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