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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Potential Evapotranspiration Networks in Texas: Design, Coverage and Operation

Authors
item Marek, Thomas - TAES-AMARILLO, TX
item New, L - TAEX-AMARILLO, TX
item Howell, Terry
item Dusek, Donald
item Fipps, Guy - TAEX-COLLEGE STATION, TX
item Sweeten, John - TAES-AMARILLO, TX

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Irrigation is vitally important in enhancing crop yields and stabilizing farm income, especially during droughts. But irrigation requires and uses large quantities of water. In the Texas High Plains, almost all of this water comes from the Ogallala aquifer that is declining. Proper irrigation scheduling is one way to reduce irrigation water usage and sustain irrigation in the face of the severe and critical water supply problems. network of automated weather stations was established for the northern Texas High Plains to acquire the necessary data to compute water usage for the major irrigated crops (corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton, peanut and soybean). Other networks were established in other areas of Texas. The networks have computers that nightly call the weather stations, download the previous day's data, process the data, upload the processed and "raw" data to a central server computer that also provides public web access. Some networks send daily faxes each night to subscribers. Main subscriber include farmers, consultants and farm advisors, and irrigation districts and other irrigation companies. This information provides daily insights into crop water usage that is fundamental to making proper irrigation scheduling decisions. By making better irrigation decisions, tremendous volumes of water can be conserved and grower profits increased. These networks help to obtain the highest value for our limited water resources and enhance irrigation's value to producers and to the whole state.

Technical Abstract: Improved irrigation scheduling techniques can conserve water and enhance growers profits by increasing crop yields and by decreasing irrigation water usage and thereby decreasing water costs. This paper describes the PET (potential evapotranspiration) networks in Texas that operate in several regions. The networks are designed to disseminate daily PET and evapotranspiration (ET) data on various irrigated crops. A computer downloads daily weather data, processes the data, uploads current data onto a web site and sends faxes to subscribers in some cases. Principal subscribers are farmers, consultants and farm advisors, irrigation districts, and irrigation companies. Many other clientele use the data too through local lawn irrigation information in the newspaper. The PET information provides daily insights into crop water usage that is fundamental to making proper irrigation scheduling decisions. By making better irrigation decisions, tremendous volumes of water can be conserved and grower profits increased thereby obtaining the highest value for our limited water resources.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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