Scientific research

Improving cotton irrigation on areas damaged by irrigational erosion

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

To decrease an irrigational erosion in the tail-end parts of furrows, winter wheat straws are applied, which serve as sort of a brake for moving water, thereby reducing surface discharge and leaching of nutrients.

Brief summary of technology:

Irrigation of cotton in a foothill cotton-growing zones is accompanied by an irrigational erosion. Mineral fertilizers and pesticides are leached out from fields together with soil, which reduces soil fertility and worsens ecology.

In a foothill zone, cotton is usually cultivated with a distance of 60 cm between the rows. Therefore, two groups of furrows, with compacted and not compacted soil are formed in the cotton field. Long-term research of UZNIIH showed that irrigations of cotton in narrow rows are appropriate to carry out in every other furrow with water supply to wheel furrows. To reduce irrigational erosion, it is recommended to apply straw at the rate of 0.1 kg per running meter in a tail part of a furrow equal to 0.15 of ist length. Straw acts as a brake to water movement, essentially reduces water losses from the fields and leahing of nutrients, preserves moisture after irrigation events. As a result, both soil moisture and cotton ageing become homogeneous along length of furrows.

Straw can be applied in a cotton field from tractor carts at the beginning of cotton budding.

Application of technology provides reduction of irrigational erosion to standard norms (no more than 2.5 g/ha in the growing period), saving of irrigating water by 15-20%, increase of cotton productivity by 5-10%.

Location: Tashkent, Syrdarya, and Dzhizak provinces.

Area of technology application: 4 ha.

Stage of intervention: Prevention of land degradation.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

The irrigational erosion, accompanied by leaching of a fine soil materials from fields, mineral fertilizers, pesticides with water. Absence of anti-erosion activities in the current farmer practice.

Main technical features of technology:

Prevention of an irrigational erosion, improvement of a soil cover, increase of organic matter and nutrients.

Type of land use Conservation measures

Irrigated arable land.

Land used for cultivation of agricultural crops (field crops) - Во(Са).

Agronomic measures:

А2: organic matter / soil fertility;

А3: processing of soil surface.


Habitat Anthropogenic environment

Average annual rainfall: >400 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 420 m.

Landscape: foothill zone.

Slope (%): sloping, steep sloping.

Soil fertility: low.

Humus content in arable horizon: 0.8-0.9%.

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: moderate.

Size of land area (ha): 200 thousand ha.

Landholder: farm.

Land ownership: state, long term lease.

Water use rights: through WUAs and irrigation management bodies.

Market orientation: Mixed farming (subsistence and commercial).


Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- reduction of an irrigational erosion to 2.5 g/ha during growing period;

- reduction of surface runoff by 15-20%;

- uniform soil moisture distribution along the furrow lengths, increase of soil moisture by 5-10%;

- the annual plowing of straw into the soil raises the organic matter contents by 5-10%.

Main disadvantages:

- higher expenses for straw cutting and applying into an inter-row of tilled crops.

Acceptance/adoption of technology: support of private enterprises is required.


1. The patent of Uzbekistan for the invention of “A way of uniform soil moisture distribution along the length of furrows” No. IAP 04404, bulletin No. 9, 30.09.2011

2. Bezborodov N. A. Resource-saving technology of irrigation under soil mulching. “Agrosanoat ahborotu”, Tashkent, 1999, 176 p.

Name of person(s) collected this description: Ma`ruf Tashkuziyev, State research institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry.

Address: 3, Kamarniso str.,Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Tel.: +998 71-227 13 99; +998 90-997 57 84





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