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The impact of wheat stubble on evaporation from a sandy soil

Ward, P.R., Whisson, K., Micin, S.F., Zeelenberg, D. and Milroy, S.P.ORCID: 0000-0002-3889-7058 (2009) The impact of wheat stubble on evaporation from a sandy soil. Crop and Pasture Science, 60 (8). pp. 730-737.

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In Mediterranean-type climates, dryland soil water storage and evaporation during the hot and dry summer are poorly understood, particularly for sandy-textured soils. Continued evaporation during summer, and any effects of crop stubble management, could have a significant impact on annual components of the water balance and crop yield. In this research, the effect of wheat stubble management on summer evaporation and soil water storage was investigated for a sandy soil in south-western Australia, during the summers of 200506 and 200607. Treatments comprised: retained standing stubble; retained flattened stubble; removed stubble; and removed stubble followed by burying the crowns with topsoil from an adjacent area. Under 'dry' conditions, evaporation continued at ∼0.2mm/day. In contrast to previous results for finer textured soil types, stubble retention did not decrease the rate of evaporation, but marginally (1030%) increased evaporation on 7 out of 14 days when measurements were taken. Significant differences due to stubble management were observed in two successive summers, but only for relatively dry soil conditions. There were no significant differences observed for several days after irrigation or rainfall. Under dry conditions in the absence of rainfall, total decrease in water storage during a 90-day summer period could be ∼20mm, but differences attributable to stubble management are likely to be a few mm.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2009 CSIRO
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