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Title: Surface soil water dynamics in pastures in northern New South Wales: 2. Surface runoff
Contributor(s): Murphy, Sean (author); Lodge, Gregory Mark (author); Harden, S (author)
Publication Date: 2004
DOI: 10.1071/EA03027
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Abstract: Surface runoff can represent a significant part of the hydrological balance of grazed pastures on the north-west slopes of New South Wales, and is influenced by a range of rainfall characteristic, soil property, and pasture conditions. Runoff plots were established on grazed pastures at 3 sites as part of the Sustainable Grazing Systems National Experiment (SGS NE). Pastures were either native (redgrass, wallaby grass and wire grass) or sown species (phalaris, subterranean clover and lucerne) and a range of grazing management treatments were imposed to manipulate pasture herbage mass, litter mass and ground cover. Rainfall and runoff events were recorded using automatic data loggers between January 1998 and September 2001. Stored soil water in the surface layer (0–22.5 cm) was monitored continuously using electrical resistance sensors and automatic loggers. Pasture herbage mass, litter mass and ground cover were estimated regularly to provide information useful in interpreting runoff generation processes. Total runoff ranged from 6.6 mm at Manilla (0.3% of rainfall) to 185 m at Nundle (5.7% of rainfall) for different grazing treatments, with the largest runoff event being recorded at Nundle (46.7 mm). Combined site linear regression analyses showed that soil depth, rainfall depth and rainfall duration explained up to 30.3% of the variation in runoff depth. For individual sites, these same variables were also important, accounting for 13.3-33.6% of the variation in runoff depth. Continuous monitoring of stored soil water in relation to these runoff events indicated that the majority of these events were generated by saturation excess, with major events in winter contributing substantially to regional flooding. Long-term simulation modelling (1957–2001) using the SGS Pasture Model indicated that most runoff events were generated in summer, which concurred with the number of flood events recorded at Gunnedah, NSW, downstream of the SGS sites. However, floods also occurred frequently in winter, but the simulations generated few runoff events at that time of the year. These results have important implications for sustainability of grazed pastures and long-term simulation modelling of the hydrological balance of such systems, since runoff generation processes are likely to vary both spatially and temporally for different rainfall events.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 44(3), p. 283-298
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Collingwood, Australia
ISSN: 0816-1089
Field of Research (FOR): 050305 Soil Physics
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 830406 Sown Pastures (excl. Lucerne)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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