Design and construction of low-cost raised-bed drainage lysimeter for crop-water relations and hydrological studies

Ali M. H and Rahman M. A

Information on crop water use and agricultural hydrology is needed to solve the problems in agricultural water management. Lysimeter is one of the equipment to collect data on agricultural hydrology. With the help of a non-weighing lysimeter (also called drainage lysimeter), complete data of all the components of water balance equation is possible for one week or 10 days duration close to that of a precision weighing lysimeter. A non-weighing gravity type lysimeter system with eighteen boxes (6 in each series) was designed and constructed at the experimental farm of ‘Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture’, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Lysimeter boxes have brick walls along with reinforced cement concrete work at foundation and side walls. These lysimeters were filled with disturbed loam soil throughout the profile. The lysimeter boxes have a soil surface area of 1.2 m2 (1.2 m × 1.0 m) with effective soil depth of 0.5 m which provides sufficient root zone depth for most of the field crops. Each lysimeter box has got provisions for surface runoff and deep percolation measurement. Evapotranspiration can be determined from water balance equation by accounting for effective rainfall, irrigation, run-off, storage and deep percolation. Test on water-logging resistant, drought tolerance, and salt tolerance of the crops can be easily carried out. In addition, multi-scale environmental research can be carried out. This open type, raised-bed lysimeters are ease in construction, repair and maintenance, and low cost. The cost of construction of the lysimeter was reasonable (Taka 2.3479 Lakh (US$ 3130)). Management and operational aspects of lysimeter set up are also discussed.

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