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Monitoring leachate can be a helpful tool to successfully schedule irrigation and avoid the inefficiencies associated with over-irrigation. Leachate, the volume of water that drains from a container after irrigation is completed, can be compared to the volume of water applied during an irrigation event. This ratio is called the leaching fraction. Leaching fractions can be used first to survey whether different taxa grown within a single irrigation zone are getting the appropriate amount of water, then that information can form the basis for determining the appropriate amount of water to apply. By comparing the measured leaching fractions with the desired leaching fraction for that zone, producers can adjust the irrigation run time accordingly to apply the desired amount.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
June 11, 2019