A report on water balance field experiments at ARC Sakha Station Egypt
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Agricultural sector remains an important tangible source of the Egyptian economy and it remains one of the most productive in the world, despite the small area of arable land and insufficient water supplies. The Nile Valley and delta, with few oases and some arable land in Sinai represent total area of agricultural land in Egypt. The rapid growth in the Egypt’s populations has prompted the Egyptian government to increase agricultural production through both horizontal and vertical expansion of land. Horizontal expansion of land is achieved by bringing large areas of unproductive desert for cultivation. This is limited by availability of water resources, and it is well known that water scarcity and salinity are major problems associated with the irrigated agriculture in Egypt. Vertical expansion of land is achieved by increasing the productivity per unit area of land. In this context, increasing crop water productivity is one of the most target plans of ARC. Fortunately, ARC has signed an agreement of research collaboration with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) since November, 2017. This research aims to enhance agricultural water productivity in the irrigated areas of Nile delta through innovative science based solutions. This research is performed in Sakha Research Station, ARC (31° 5' 47.976'' N; 30° 55' 20.8272'' E). Two field experiments were carried out under cultivation of: 1) wheat crop in winter season of 2017/18 including the application of nitrogen as injected ammonia as compared to conventional N application, and 2) maize crop in summer season of 2018. The length of the field was rather long (200 m x 200 m). Irrigation was supplied through surface irrigation system. Eddy correlation system was installed to measure crop evapotranspiration. Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR) was installed to measure soil volumetric water content, soil EC and soil temperature. Irrigation amounts were measured via cutthroat flume equipment and total yield was recorded. The obtained results revealed that Ammonia Injection Technique improved water productivity, yield and yield components of wheat crop. For maize crop Water productivity showed 1.8 Kg / m3. The other obtained results by the Tower devices are shown in this report while need more analysis to estimate all desired results. Now, we are cultivating another experiment on sugar beet crop for winter season 2018/19 and still present while thee desired measurements are in processing.