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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUSTAINING RURAL ECONOMIES THROUGH NEW WATER MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES Title: Integrating multiple irrigation technologies for overall improvement in irrigation.

Authors
item Howell, Terry
item O`shaughnessy, Susan
item Evett, Steven

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Central Plains Irrigation Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2012
Publication Date: February 21, 2012
Citation: Howell, T.A., Oshaughnessy, S.A., Evett, S.R. 2012. Integrating multiple irrigation technologies for overall improvement in irrigation management. Proceedings of the Central Plains Irrigation Conference, February 21, 2012, Colby, Kansas. p. 170-186.

Interpretive Summary: There are many methods to provide information to producers for their irrigation water management and specifically in irrigation scheduling. This highlighted several of these methods but stressed that several methods should be used to avoid biases and to improve reliability of the decisions. Water management decisions are described as strategic and or tactical ones. Strategic decisions are decisions made before a season begins. Tactical decisions for water management include the day to day ones on field to farm irrigation scheduling. These decisions are all based on judgments, advice, information or data, previous experiences, etc. Multiple systems of measurements can impact both strategic and tactical water management decisions. We suggest no information source or irrigation scheduling tool as superior alone but to illustrate, each add valuable information to aid the decision maker. The decision maker must weigh the cost for the information, its reliability, and its suitability for his/her production system.

Technical Abstract: There are many tools, techniques, and/or schemes to assist producers in irrigation water management and specifically in irrigation scheduling. This paper will highlight several of those but emphasize that several methods should be used simultaneously as an improved or advanced procedure to avoid biases and to improve reliability. Water management decisions are basically strategic and tactical ones. Strategic decisions are decisions made after reviewing a season's data (e.g. reviewing field yield maps, accounting reviews of field/farm productivity and costs to determine profits or losses) or preseason ones like changing or modifying irrigation system methods or technology; irrigation well additions, treatment, or power selection; selecting field crop hybrids/varieties; selecting field water management techniques; and field agronomic decisions on tillage, fertility, planting, etc. Tactical decisions for water management include the day to day ones on field to farm irrigation scheduling as well as scheduling irrigation system maintenance or emergency repairs (e.g. pipeline leaks or ruptures, irrigation well failures, power outages, etc.). Not every decision option may be necessary for either strategic or tactical options for specific operations. An area of engineering or statistics is known as Decision Theory (DT). DT has several interesting concepts on the application to probabilistic or stochastic processes such as agriculture and irrigation engineering. In some cases, not to be made light of, DT is a form of Game Theory (GT). GT is common in gambling, not unlike agriculture where the card turn or dice roll (analogous to next day's events in agriculture) could dramatically impact profit or losses as well as affecting subsequent decisions. These decisions are all based on subjectivity based judgments, advice information or data, previous experiences, etc. Multiple systems of measurements can impact the both strategic and tactical water management decisions. We suggest no information source or irrigation scheduling tool is superior alone, but to illustrate each adds valuable information to aid the decision maker. The decision maker must weigh the cost for the information, its reliability, and its suitability for his/her production system.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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