California growers of lettuce, broccoli, celery, and cauliflower have long been leaders in drip tape applications. Starting in the early 1990s, large acreages of buried, subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) were installed with the intent of leaving the tape in the ground for up to 10 years (Burt and Styles, 1999). Tape burial depths were typically 20 - 25 cm below the soil surface. Although yields and irrigation efficiencies typically increased, there were numerous challenges with SDI. Since the tape was buried, such issues occurred as gopher damage, problems with root intrusion, soil back-siphonage when the system was shut off, damage during harvesting during wet weather, and difficulties in developing uniform wetting patterns for germination. In addition, because the location of the buried tape was permanently fixed, any shifting of the beds that took place during cultivation operations would result in vertical or lateral displacement from the tape. The fixed position also made crop rotations inherently inflexible since crop bed widths could not be varied.


Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bae_fac/244