Better understand the soil wet bulb formation with subsurface or aerial drip irrigation in viticulture

The gradual change in rainfall patterns experienced in the south of France vineyards, especially around the Mediterranean sea, means that the vines are increasingly subject to summer drought. The winegrowers developped the use of irrigation techniques to ensure the maintenance of competitive yields in the production of wines under  Protected Geographical Indication label. In practice, drip irrigation pipes can be installed above the ground or buried into the soil as well as at different distances from the vine row. The objective of this study was to examine the profiles of the wet bulbs of the soil obtained from two drip irrigation systems : aerial drip located under the vine row and subsurface drip placed in the middle of the inter-row. This experiment took place over two consecutive seasons (2020-2021) on a 3.4 ha Viognier plot in the Mediterranean region (PGI Oc, France) on sandy clay soil. The annual rainfalls were less than 400 mm. Soil water content probes were installed at different depths (20 – 40 – 60 – 80 cm) and at different lateralities from the vine row (30 – 60 – 90 – 120 cm) to control the formation of the soil wet bulb during irrigation. The mapping and the analysis of the data allowed a better understanding and differentiation of the water percolation when irrigating with subsurface or aerial drip. For the same amount of water and without differences of vine water status, it is shown that in a subsurface drip irrigation situation, the size of the wet bulb formed is larger than in aerial drip irrigation system. 

Authors: Eric Serrano1, Paul Katgerman1, Marc Gelly2 and Thierry Dufourcq3

1IFV Sud-ouest, V’Innopole, Peyrole, France
2Ag-Irrig, Aubussargues, France
3IFV Sud-ouest, Caussens, France


Keywords: aerial drip irrigation, subsurface drip irrigation, water saving, wet bulb

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