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Evaluating the Surface Irrigation Soil Loss (SISL) Model
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The SISL (surface irrigation soil loss) model was developed by the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in 1991 to estimate annual soil loss from furrow irrigated fields to assess benefits of conservation practices, such as converting from furrow to sprinkler irrigation. This empirical model was based on over 200 field-years of data from southern Idaho, but it has not been independently evaluated. Data collected in 2003 from six production fields near Kimberly, Idaho, along with previously published furrow irrigation erosion data from Kimberly, Idaho and Prosser, Washington, were used to evaluate the SISL model. Predicted soil loss correlated reasonably well with measured soil loss for all three data sets (r2= 0.73, n = 30). The model predicted the relative effects of conservation tillage practices, straw mulching, and surge irrigation reasonably well, however, the absolute differences between measured and predicted soil loss were sometimes large. Number of irrigations is embedded in the base soil loss so SISL cannot be applied when irrigation application varies significantly from typical southern Idaho conditions. The limited number of conservation practice factors included in SISL also did not represent all types and frequencies of tillage operations that occurred in the field. A better approach may be to calculate the base soil loss from field length, slope, soil, and some estimate of runoff rather than selecting base soil loss from slope and crop categories in the current model.
Applied engineering in agriculture 2007, v. 23, no. 4
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