HEAVY CLAY SOIL WETTER TEST CONDUCTED BY JOHN BROWN FOR USE IN DRIP
                                                      IRRIGATED VINEYARDS

TEST DATE 13/3/2006. LIGHT  RAIN LAST RECORDED MORE THAN 3 WEEKS EARLIER.

Set up:-  Dug trenches with crow bar measuring  300 mm x 80 mm x 450 mm deep. Trenches set 600 mm apart in line with normal dripper  spacing. Both test drippers set back 150 mm from centre edge of each trench.
Dripper flow rate set at 2 litres per hour - gravity fed.
Test set to drip for two and a half hours, which is five litres for each dripper.
Wetting agent added to first 500ml of water for LEFT trench dripper. Water only for RIGHT trench dripper.
Cost of agent 1/2 a cent.
White PVC pipes played no part in tests.
It was expected LEFT dripper would produce an upside down Turnip profile to depth of trench given the drips started 150 ml from trench edge. I expected the moisture to break through the side of the trench at some depth below the surface, maybe 1/3 to a 1/2 way down hole. I expected water from the plain water drip, would pool and spread on the surface and be blocked by the clay at a shallow depth.

THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS ARE IN TIME SEQUENCE OVER  3  HOURS. 


TRENCHES DUG TO 450 mm DEPTH




LEFT TRENCH DRIPPER WITH WETTER ADDED




RIGHT TRENCH DRIPPER WITH WATER ONLY


RIGHT TRENCH SHOWING NO EVIDENCE OF WATER AT TOP EDGE OR AT DEPTH
 


LEFT TRENCH WITH WETTER SHOWING FIRST SIGN OF MOISTURE AT ABOUT 200 mm DOWN + SURFACE


TRENCH LAY OUT..   LEFT DRIPPER HAS WETTER AGENT ADDED.  RIGHT DRIPPER WATER ONLY.

LEFT TRENCH WITH WETTER SLOWLY SPREADING


LEFT TRENCH WITH WETTER SLOWLY SPREADING AND  SPREADING ON TOP SURFACE


LEFT TRENCH WITH WETTER SPREADING FURTHER AND  1ST SIGN OF WORM GETTING TOO WET


RIGHT TRENCH SHOWING SPREAD OF MOISTURE ON SURFACE BUT NONE DOWN HOLE


LEFT TRENCH WITH WETTER SPREADING FURTHER AND  WORM ON THE MOVE


LEFT TRENCH WITH WETTER SPREADING TO BOTTOM AND BEGINNING TO WRAP RIGHT SIDE


RIGHT TRENCH STILL ONLY SHOWING WATER AT SURFACE

LEFT TRENCH WITH WETTER REACHING BOTTOM AND  WRAPPING BOTH SIDES AT 450 MM

 

 

CONCLUSION:- Applied through dripper irrigation is a proven success. I have little doubt the use of this particular 
wetting  agent will save huge amounts of water as much as 50%, allowing water to wet the soil to great depth  
encouraging roots to depth where vines and  plants will benefit with a constant source of water, minerals and nutrients. 
The vines will not suffer the problem of burnt roots during drought conditions and where roots only develop along the surface.
I am not at liberty to divulge the components of this wetter and have been offered the rights for use in vineyards.

                             
                          
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