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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY-SOUND PEST, WATER AND SOIL MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS CROPPING SYSTEMS

Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit

Title: A review of mechanical move sprinkler irrigation control and automation technologies

Authors
item Kranz, William -
item Evans, Robert
item Lamm, Freddy -
item O`shaughnessy, Susan
item Peters, R -

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 2012
Publication Date: July 2, 2012
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/57113
Citation: Kranz, W.L., Evans, R.G., Lamm, F.R., Oshaughnessy, S.A., Peters, R.T. 2012. A review of mechanical move sprinkler irrigation control and automation technologies. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 28(3):389-397.

Interpretive Summary: This paper reviews the state of the art of control panels and software for management of site-specific sprinkler irrigation using center pivots and linear move systems. Electronic sensors, equipment controls, and communication protocols have been developed to meet the growing interest in site-specific irrigation using center pivot and lateral move irrigation systems. Communication systems such as cell phones, satellite radios, and internet based systems allow the operator to query the main control panel or base computer from any location at any time. Equipment controls necessary to alter water application depth to meet the management criteria for relatively small management zones are now commercially available from irrigation system manufacturers and after-market suppliers. Onboard and field-distributed sensors can collect data necessary for real-time irrigation management decisions and transmit the information through wireless networks to the main control panel or base computer. But decision systems for automatic control are incomplete. Selection of the communications system for remote access depends on local and regional topography and cost relative to other methods. Recent developments in the center pivot industry have led to contractual relationships between after-market suppliers and irrigation system manufacturers that should support further development of site-specific application of water, nutrients and pesticides in the future. Suggestions are made for broad research and development issues that are needed to address future requirements.

Technical Abstract: Electronic sensors, equipment controls, and communication protocols have been developed to meet the growing interest in site-specific irrigation using center pivot and lateral move irrigation systems. Onboard and field-distributed sensors can collect data necessary for real-time irrigation management decisions and transmit the information directly or through wireless networks to the main control panel or base computer. Equipment controls necessary to alter water application depth to meet the management criteria for relatively small management zones are now commercially available from irrigation system manufacturers and after-market suppliers. Selection of the communications system for remote access depends on local and regional- topography and cost relative to other methods. Communication systems such as cell phones, satellite radios, and internet based systems allow the operator to query the main control panel or base computer from any location at any time. Recent developments in the center pivot industry have led to contractual relationships between after-market suppliers and irrigation system manufacturers that should support further development of site-specific application of water, nutrients and pesticides in the future.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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