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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 34(7)

Estimation of evapotranspiration from rice in southern New South Wales: a review

E Humphreys, WS Meyer, SA Prathapar and DJ Smith

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 34(7) 1069 - 1078
Published: 1994


This paper reviews field measurements of evapotranspiration from rice (ET rice) in the Murrumbidgee Valley of southern New South Wales. The results are compared with US Class A open pan evaporation (E pan) at CSIRO Griffith, and with reference evapotranspiration (ETo) calculated using a locally calibrated Penman equation. Both methods (+ETrice = +Epan or +ETrice = +ETo) give good estimates of total evapotranspiration from flooded rice over the ponded season of about 5 months, from October to February. Variation between seasons in total ETo, rainfall, and ETo minus rainfall is large. Over 32 years, total seasonal ETo varied by a factor of 1.5, while rainfall varied >10-fold. The irrigation water requirement for rice +(ETo - rainfall) varied from 685 mm in 1992-93 to 1350 mm in 1990-91. This large variation highlights the need to adjust the rice water use limit (16 ML/ha or 1600 mm) on a seasonal basis, to detect and eliminate high water use paddocks where percolation to the groundwater or surface runoff is excessive (>2 ML/ha). On average, an irrigation requirement of 10.5 ML/ha is needed to replace net evaporative loss +(ETo - rainfall) for rice flooded for 5 months, October-February. Monthly totals of ETo are compared for several locations within the rice-growing areas of southern New South Wales, and differences between locations are found to be small and not significant. This reflects the strong dependence of evaporation on radiant energy, which is unlikely to vary spatially to a significant extent across the region. ETo calculated from meteorological data collected at CSIRO Griffith therefore provides a definitive basis for estimating evapotranspiration from rice in southern New South Wales. Furthermore, CSIRO Griffith has a computerised meteorological data base going back to the 1930s. Current meteorological data and historical records are readily available by contacting the Metdata Manager. Therefore, the case is made for using CSIRO Griffith ETo as the reference for estimating evapotranspiration from rice in southern New South Wales. This study provides farmers, Land and Water Management Plan groups, and policy makers with a tool that can be used, on a yearly basis, to evaluate rice paddock water use efficiency. It should be adopted to confine rice growing to the least permeable soils.

Full text doi:10.1071/EA9941069

© CSIRO 1994

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