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Polyacrylamide in furrow irrigation, an erosion control breakthrough

Sojka, R.E. and Lentz, R.D. (1996) Polyacrylamide in furrow irrigation, an erosion control breakthrough. pp. 183-189. In: First European Conf. and Trade Exposition on Erosion Control. Lecture Book IECA. Spain-Barcelona, 1996/05/29-31.

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Irrigated crop production is critical to global agricultural output. Surface irrigation, mostly furrow irrigation,
accounts for >60% of Earth's 240 million irrigated hectares. Erosion seriously threatens irrigation's ability to
sustain its 2X yield advantage over rainfed agriculture and risks serious environmental and food security
consequences to earth's mushrooming human population. Furrow irrigation-induced erosion is nearly eliminated
by small additions of water-soluble polyacrylamide (PAM) to irrigation water. PAM is an environmentally safe
industrial flocculent widely used in municipal water treatment, paper manufacturing, food processing and other
sensitive applications. On freshly cultivated furrows, 1 kg/ha of PAM applied in the irrigation inflow at 10 g/m3
during water advance (only), reduced sediment in runoff 94% and increased net infiltration 15% in 3 yrs of
Agricultural Research Service tests in Idaho on Portneuf silt loam soils (coarse-silty, mixed, mesic Durixerollic
Calciorthids). PAM products are now registered throughout the western United States. the Natural Resources
Conservation Service published a PAM-use practice standard in January 1995. In 1995, the first year of product
commercialization, 20,000 ha of furrow irrigated land used PAM, halting an estimated 0.9 million metric tons of
erosion. With PAM-use, irrigation return flows have had reduced sediment, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD),
total phosphorus, and various pesticides. Many irrigation farmers who have viewed traditional conservation
practices as cumbersome, intrusive, or ineffectual, adopt PAM-use as an attractive inexpensive alternative. The
typical $37-$88/ha per crop costs, are partially or entirely retrieved by savings in erosion-related field operations,
improved infiltration, water conservation, or crop responses. Pam-use in irrigation is expected to expand rapidly in

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
NWISRL Publication Number: 0904
Subjects: Irrigation > Furrow irrigation > Erosion > Polyacrylamide
Polyacrylamide (PAM) > Water-soluble PAM (WSPAM) > Erosion control
Soil > Erosion
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Users 6 not found.
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:57
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2016 22:57
Item ID: 1079