Location: Soil and Water Management Research
Title: Advances in sprinkler irrigation management Authors
Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 10, 2013
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Sprinkler irrigation is being increasingly adopted in the US and worldwide because it offers increased crop water productivity over what is possible with gravity irrigation. Most sprinkler irrigation is by center pivot, which is presently used on about 50 and 80 percent of land irrigated in the US and Texas High Plains, respectively. However, increased crop water productivity also requires an increased level of management. With fewer personnel managing larger irrigated areas, new methods are needed to reduce the management time required. Recent advances in sprinkler irrigation management include variable rate irrigation, variable frequency drive pump control, wireless mesh network and sensor development, and algorithm development and testing. Variable rate irrigation and variable frequency drive pumps allow for better management of spatially-variable irrigation requirements and also temporally variable water resources, such as declining well production, which can be both short-term (within the irrigation season) or long-term (over many years). New wireless sensors developed include in-situ (contact) soil water sensors, reflectance and thermal radiometers for remote sensing, and a computer vision thermal radiometer for discriminating substrate (soil) and vegetation. Algorithms are under development that are based on the energy balance of the soil - plant - atmosphere continuum. These algorithms use both in-situ and remotely sensed data, which provide real-time soil water and plant stress feedback. Each of these management advances contribute synergistically to increased crop water productivity in terms of both efficiency and resiliency of the irrigation system as a whole.