INVESTIGATION OF NEW PROCESSES OF CIRCULATION OF WATER AND NUTRIENTS IN SMALL AGRICULTURAL MOUNTAIN BASINS. PILOT LINE IN THE JERTE VALLEY
THE JERTE VALLEY
Case study on “Mountain Irrigation Efficiency”. Better2Earth participated in a project together with several entities in Spain, Universities, the EU funds system, Companies, and the Local Government.
In this project, the goal was to assess the capacity of our foamed glass technology “Porous Alpha”, to improve humidity retention in the soil for applications in mountain farming irrigation.
General characteristics of the farm
Agronomic characteristics (soil, climate, topography, slope of the land…):
Soil: Sandy loam.
Climate: Summers are short, hot, dry and mostly clear and winters are very cold and partly cloudy. During the year, the temperature generally varies from -3°C to 30°C, rarely falling below -8°C or rising above 35°C. Annual average pp reaches 1000mm.
Topography: Terraced land. 611m altitude.
Irrigation (System, origin, frequency, quantity):
Belonging to the Irrigation Community. It is irrigated from the community hydrant, which is programmed to irrigate 1h/day (at night). It is not divided into sectors, it is irrigated equally using self-compensating drippers of 4L/h to all plots, without control of water needs.
Characteristics of the vegetation and the environment (tree, shrub, and grass species, coverage, presence of invaders…):
The environment of the plots is agricultural, mainly cherry trees.
Hydrant of the Irrigation Community. Concrete pond.
Conventional cherry farming, Sumburst, Sunderland, Lapins, and Sandon Rose varieties.
Fertilization provided annually (dose, season):
Chicken manure, sheep, cow 3000-3500kg/ha, leftovers of chestnut forest remains.
Agricultural practices, work carried out:
Herbicide (Glyphosate) and manual clearing.
Fungicide (4-5 times/year), Insecticide. Everything is recommended from the cooperative by the technician, even if there are no problems.
Natural environment influence on ecosystems and biodiversity, Natura 2000 Network:
It does not belong to Natura 2000 Network.
Notes related to hydrology, climate change, and drought:
Proximity to the Garganta de Marta (500m to the east). They have water all year round.
Other observations of interest. Action alternatives for efficient mountain irrigation: Very different plots are observed despite being adjacent. One of them stands out due to a change in cultivation carried out recently (previous Rebollo species), where terraces have been built and earthworks have been carried out, altering the horizons of the soil and not currently presenting a good settlement of it. The introduced cherry tree does not adapt well and even irrigation is insufficient because the soil does not easily retain water.
The concentration of plots suitable for, soil analysis, control of their humidity, and planning of the sector of irrigation by plots according to the previous studies carried out. Possibility of RGS in some of the plots to compare water savings against conventional dripping. Hydrogels in 75% of the farm where the crop change has been carried out to study its viability. Occasional padding with compost, leaves, etc., to avoid ETP.
Review of results with three months of follow-up.
The most immediate difference is the behavior and response to irrigation, where the “Porous 310 2 product” sector responds to every one of the irrigations, with a positive trend and with greater uniformity in the average humidity of the profile.
Another relevant difference is the net humidity values, which differ significantly, being 50% higher at times of load and 40% higher at times of discharge.
The “Porous 310 1 Product” sector has an even a greater response in terms of water retention capacity than the previous case, especially in the 40 cm profile, where it increases up to 100% compared to the “Porous 310 1 w/t Product”.