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Journal of soil science and plant nutrition

versión On-line ISSN 0718-9516


VALDIVIA-CEA, Walter; HOLZAPFEL, Eduardo; RIVERA, Diego  y  PAREDES, Jerónimo. Assessment of methods to determine soil characteristics for management and design of irrigation systems. J. Soil Sci. Plant Nutr. [online]. 2017, vol.17, n.3, pp.735-750. ISSN 0718-9516.

Irrigation system design and irrigation management require appropriate classification of the soil and type of crop match. In Chile, agrological reports are currently being used to determine the homogeneity of soil units and land capability classes: fruit tree production vs orchard design. Agrological studies use a number of soil characteristics, but these do not include hydrophysical properties, which are essential when zoning for irrigation. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a methodology to objectively evaluate soils, based on a quantitative analysis that includes hydrophysical parameters. In this study, different methodologies are proposed for classifying homogenous soil units based on extensive field sampling. The field data was evaluated using two methodologies: 1) the SAG-USDA Manual and 2) in situ sampling of soil’s hydrophysical properties and pedotransfer models. There were differences between the methodologies regarding the zoning soil properties for irrigation system design and management. The methodology based on the SAG-USDA Manual requires auxiliary data in order to provide useful maps for design and management of irrigation systems. Published pedotransfer functions should be carefully assess before their use in large-scale design, as the quality the estimations depends on the data used to derive the equations. Therefore, if field data is available, we recommend calibrating equations using well-known statistical methods such as least square. In this study, the functions obtained describe the properties of interest properly, such as the field capacity for design of micro-irrigation systems. However, predicting wilting point did not give reliable results.

Palabras clave : Soil hydrophysical properties; pedotransfer functions; management of irrigation systems.

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