Water Improvements

Water Improvements

The ability of the Deep Seedbed Conditioner to create a ~ 300 mm deep, loose and structurally stable  root zone, which overlies naturally consolidated subsoil, produced dramatically large improvements in irrigation efficiency, crop water use efficiency, waterlogging prevention and crop production.

                                                                                                                                                                                       IRRIGATION   FARMING

On a furrow-irrigated, black self-mulching soil on the Queensland Darling Downs and 2 metre wide beds, DCS:

    • INCREASED the rate, distance and uniformity of LATERAL infiltration (subbing) – the water content at the centre of the 2 m wide DSC beds reached field capacity 3 to 4 times faster than it did in No-till and Cultivated beds;
    • ASSURED rapid and complete subbing of water to the centre of 2 m wide beds;
    • INCREASED the rate and amount  of water absorption by the top 300 mm of soil – it was 3 to 4 faster and 3 to 4 times larger than that in the No-till and Cultivated beds.                                                        (The amount of infiltrated water in the 0 – 300 mm layer in these two treatments was MUCH LESS and was spread dominantly DOWNWARDS (NOT laterally), in a tear-drop shape.);
    • REDUCED irrigation application times by 36 % to 70 %;
    • REDUCED water applications by 26 % / irrigation, on average, or 1 – 2 ML / ha /  cropping season;    (See Information Sheet No. 8, below.)
    • REQUIRED faster irrigation application rates to capture irrigation efficiency benefits;                      (These rates are easily calculated from the volume of required water divided by time for water to reach bed centres.);
    • DECREASED proportion of irrigation water absorbed below 300 mm depth;
    • REDUCED deep drainage losses;
    • INCREASED production by > 5 % on this highly fertile soil;
    • GAVE irrigators knowledge of how improved soil management  can dramatically increase irrigation efficiency, reduce the number of soil operations and increase production and profit.                                  (See Information Sheet no. 9, below.)

Note 1.  All these irrigation efficiency improvements will transfer to DRIP and SPRAY irrigation systems, because they are the consequence of the improved soil physical conditions created and maintained by DSC.

           2.  The benefits will NOT transfer to FLOOD IRRIGATION, because this type of water application breaks down soil structure, reduces soil aeration and permeability, allows sodic soils to disperse, reduces infiltration and hastens soil consolidation.                                                                                                                              (See Information Sheets Nos 4, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11. )

                                                                                                                                                                                      DRYLAND  and  IRRIGATION FARMING

On a wide range of waterlog-prone soils, DSC:

    • COMPLETELY PREVENTED waterlogging by draining excess water from DSC beds and aerating root zone soil within 48 h – the limit beyond which plants begin to suffer;
    • INCREASED the amount, rate and depth of rainfall infiltration;
    • INCREASED water absorption capacity of the 0 – 300 mm soil depth by >40 mm (or 34 %);
    • DEMONSTRATED that DSC beds can be up to 3 m wide and still drain within 48 h;
    • REDUCED the likelihood of runoff;
    • INCREASED crop production by > 31%, on average, on ALL waterlog-prone sites, across both wet and dry seasons.                                                                                                                                                                                        See Information Sheet No. 11, below.)                       


More Information

                       Easily readable details of these findings are presented in the Information Sheets                                                                                       attached to the Green Bars below.

Information Sheets containing explanations and substantiation of all the claimed operational, productivity and environmental benefits that flow from the practice of Deep Seedbed Conditioning can be accessed by clicking on the Green Bars below and then clicking on the red download buttons.

Info. Sheet No. 8 - Furrow Irrigation

The furrow irrigation Information Sheet presents data collected from a black self-mulching soil on the Darling Downs.  On moist and dry soil prior to irrigating, the data illustrate DSC soil produced: 
(i) large savings in application times (36 to 70 per cent less, respectively); 
(ii) lateral water penetration rates three times greater than vertical; 
(iii) 16 mm and 35 mm more of infiltrated water in moist and dry soil irrigations, respectively; and
(iv) an average saving in irrigation water of 25 per cent.

Info. Sheet No. 9 - Capturing Irrigation Savings

This Information Sheet explains the reasons for the DSC machine’s design and mode of operation, including the optional components that are recommended to maximise the machine’s effectiveness.  It also describes the geographic locations where its field testing was undertaken.

Info. Sheet No. 10 - Drip & Spray Irrigations

With the stabilisation of soil structure through the practice of DSC, theoretical calculations were able to match field measurements of moisture distribution during furrow irrigation.  Infiltration was not confounded by changing pore structure.  It varied only with soil moisture content.  In this Information Sheet theoretical calculations of the distribution of water spreading from surface and sub-surface driplines in soil profiles with layers with different permeability are shown to match moisture distributions photographed in the field.  These analyses show root-stabilised soil structure enhances the rate and extent of lateral spread of water, and they provide guidance for the optimum placement of drip-lines.

Info. Sheet No. 11 - Waterlogging Prevention

This information Sheet describes how the loose, root-stabilised porosity created and maintained by DSC soil management provides rapid drainage and the return of 10 per cent air-filled pore space that plants need to avoid suffering the effects of waterlogging (i.e., oxygen depletion damage, which actually ‘prunes’ their root systems).  The extra (tilth) porosity created by DSC management easily allows drainage to restore aerobic conditions within 48 hours (the generally recognised duration of anaerobic conditions before plants suffer permanent damage).  The consequences of DSC management are thus shown to be capable of preventing waterlogging on beds ≤2 m wide on irrigated land and ≤3 wide on rainfed land.