DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY OF IRRIGATION SCHEDULING TOOLS FOR MISSISSIPPI PRODUCERS
Crop Production Systems Research Unit
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop and deliver irrigation scheduling tools and training to Mississippi producers for irrigation scheduling of crop production.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
An irrigation decision support system will be developed and delivered to producers in Mississippi. The irrigation decision will be based on calculations of crop water use from weather data from weather stations throughout Mississippi and other publically available agricultural databases. Other data on farm and soil will be utilized to develop site specific irrigation scheduling recommendations. The irrigation decision support system will be delivered to producers in Mississippi through an easy to use and readily accessible format. Training materials will be developed and presented to producers through on-site training and other standard Extension mechanisms.
Soil cores and bulk samples were taken from production and research fields for analysis of texture, nutrient, and water holding capacity. Results indicate that most soils from the production fields are silt and silt loam, with approximately 1.2–2.5 inches of plant available water per foot of soil. Corn and soybean production fields were identified for a variety of soils and management settings for testing the Mississippi Irrigation Scheduling Tool (MIST). Soil water sensors were installed in the production and research fields. Plant height, growth stage, light interception and soil moisture readings were recorded weekly. Weather data was downloaded from all weather stations reported by Delta Research and Extension Center (DREC) Weather Center and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN) weather systems. Two additional weather stations were installed to replace stations lost due to flooding and inclement weather. Plant growth measurements were used to adjust published crop coefficients to cultivars, soils and growth conditions of the Delta. Soil water measurements and plant growth measurements are being compared to evapotranspiration calculations made with the Modified Penman-Monteith in the Mississippi Irrigation Scheduling Tool program to adjust crop coefficients to better reflect actual crop water use in the soils and environment of the Delta. Confirmation of crop water needs predicted from MIST requires crop coefficients adjusted to Mid-South growing conditions, cultivars, soils, and management practices. Analysis of plant growth information is continuing to develop single crop coefficients as outlined in the FAO56 procedure. Dual crop coefficients are being explored as a possible method of accounting for variability of alluvial soils. Development on the user interface is progressed substantially. The url for the web site server is now open. Summaries and educational materials have been developed for the water management website. The information can be viewed at: http://www.agwater.msucare.com. The irrigation scheduler has been implemented into the user interface, and the interface is being tested.