Side inlet rice irrigation provides greater control of water and is easier to manage. The benefits of the side inlet system include water conservation, lower energy cost, and reduced cold water damage to rice. Because the whole field is flooded in a more timely and uniform manner, weed control, and nitrogen fertilizer retention are much improved. Nutrient and chemical loss is also reduced because of less runoff exiting fields.
Two large scale side inlet fields (25 acres and 46 acres) were compared with one cascade field (39 acres, see figure 2). Irrigation flow instruments, and electric meters were used to monitor irrigation events. Both methods were utilized on the cascade system. These data were then compared to electric meter readings on Side Inlet Field A and flow meter readings on Side Inlet Field B. Onset of initial flooding was within one day for each field. No levee gates were installed in Side Inlet Field B. Thus, water distribution was solely dependent upon the pipe design.
Electric meter readings from Side Inlet Field A indicate that 39% less energy was required for irrigation. Flow meter readings on Side Inlet Field B, where the water holding capacity of the soil was superior to Field A, indicate that 60% less irrigation was required.
For further information about side inlet or for design assistance contact any USDA-NRCS office in southeast Missouri. This service is free of charge.
2 Resource Conservationist, Irrigation Management Engineer, and Resource Conservationist USDA-NRCS.
3 The USDA-NRCS Irrigation & Water Quality Office staff would like to express their gratitude to the cooperators, Tom and Dan Jennings.
4 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (Voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326W, Whitten Building, 14th & Independence Avenue, SW, Washington DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (Voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Missouri Rice Research Reports