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Agrociencia (Uruguay)

Print version ISSN 1510-0839On-line version ISSN 2301-1548


GARCIA PETILLO, Mario. Critical Analysis of the Surface Irrigation Method Under the Conditions of Uruguay. Agrociencia Uruguay [online]. 2011, vol.15, n.2, pp.76-82. ISSN 1510-0839.

We cannot talk about «the» best method but «a» best method; that is, the most appropriate method for a given situation. Surface irrigation has clear advantages over pressurized irrigation in terms of investment and operational costs. However, it is common that farmers and their technical advisers to, a priori, rule out this method. The most frequent reasons in support of this argument are: i. Surface irrigation is not uniform; ii. It is very inefficient and there is too much water waste; iii. It is very difficult to implement and, therefore, it requires a highly qualified workforce. This paper aims to assess these claims and put them into perspective. In relation to the first two arguments, we will demonstrate that these are generalizations and preconceptions that need not occur in a well designed and operated irrigation system. As regards the third claim, we will examine the conditions that make surface irrigation in our country difficult. These conditions are associated with steep slopes where agricultural soils have a very thin upper horizon and, therefore, levelling becomes difficult to achieve. In order to overcome those difficulties, we will put forward methods for surface irrigation adapted to the conditions of Uruguay in different crop situations and topography. Apart from the previously mentioned lower cost, these methods allow an efficient water management and the conservation of soil resources, and they are easy to operate by the farmers.

Keywords : uniformity coefficient; irrigation efficiency; border irrigation; surface irrigation; systematization.

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