Soil Water Dynamics, Effective Rooting Zone, and Evapotranspiration of Sprinkler Irrigated Potato in a Sandy Loam Soil

Koffi Djaman, Komlan Koudahe, Aminou Saibou, Murali Darapuneni, Charles Higgins, Suat Irmak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a very sensitive crop to water stress and timely irrigation water management improves tuber yield and quality. The objectives of this study were to (1) inves-tigate soil water dynamics under potato crops across their root zone and (2) estimate potato crop evapotranspiration (ETa) under sprinkler irrigation on the sandy loam soil. The field experiment was conducted during the 2018 and 2019 growing seasons at the Navajo Farms within the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, Farmington, NM. Two irrigation scheduling methods were evaluated as FAO-56 approach evapotranspiration-based scheduling and soil moisture sensing irrigation scheduling. Sentek capacitance soil moisture probe was used across four commercial potato fields in each year after calibration to the soil texture just after installation. Crop Evapotranspiration values estimated by the water balance method and the two-step approach were compared to the satellite-based models used in OpenET. The results showed that the potato’s effective rooting zone is the upper 40 cm soil layer. Potato plants extracted more than 50% of total water from the upper 15 cm of the soil profile and about 85% from the upper 40 cm of the soil profile. Little water amount was extracted from the 40–60 cm soil water. Potato crop seasonal evapotranspiration averaged 580 to 645 mm in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The Two-step approach ETa values of 795.5 and 832.7 mm in 2018 and 2019, respectively, were higher than the soil water balance estimated ETa. The satellite modeled ETa varied with field and years and ranged from 437 to 759 mm and averaged 570.4 mm for the 2016–2020 period. Soil moisture probe-based irrigation scheduling improved irrigation water management and the irrigation water use of potatoes in the semiarid climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number864
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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