A dramatic increase has occurred in the number
of acres under center-pivot irrigation systems in Minnesota during the past 15 years, from an estimated 100,000 acres in 1975 to about 500,000 acres in 1990, an average annual increase of over 26,000 acres.
Irrigation systems are usually installed on fields with sandy, droughty soils that are highly susceptible to wind erosion. Many of these fields had single-row tree windbreaks that were removed because they would interfere with the traveling booms of the center-pivot systems. This often increased wind erosion, rfl!sulting in "sand-blasting" damage to young crops.
To find a substitute for single-row tree windbreaks for use under center-pivot irrigation systems, it was necessary to test various shrub species under a center-pivot system. Tests were sited at the Herman Rosholt Research Farm in the Bonanza Valley of west central Minnesota.
The original planting in the spring of 1979 consisted of 18 shrub species. Those that were performing inadequately were removed and replaced with new species. Through 11 growing seasons, from the initiation of the study in the spring of 1979 through its fall of 1989 termination, 34 shrub species and varieties from 18 genera were tested. As a result of this study, six species were recommended for use in field windbreaks: arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum L.), glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula columnaris L.), caragana (Caragana arborescans Lam.), Peking cotoneaster (Cotoneaster acutifolius Turez.), Chinese lilac (Syringa x Chinensis Willd.), and Persian lilac (Syringa xpersiCa L.).
Scholten, Harold; et al..
Performance of Shrub Species as Field Windbreaks Under Center-Pivot Irrigation.
Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.
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