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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Research Project #445570

Research Project: Improving Precision Irrigation Systems for Increased Crop Water Productivity in Different Climates

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Project Number: 3090-13000-016-075-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2023
End Date: Jun 30, 2026

These are the grant’s objectives that ARS-Bushland is contributing to: ARS will: 1) design, build and test an economical wireless distance sensor to measure plant height remotely for input into crop model by other PIs; 2) provide 12 prototype sensors (4 each for University of Reno, UC Davis and ARS-Bushland) and technical support for sensor mounting and data capture; and 3) utilize improved ISSCADA software programs to manage cotton and sorghum crops at Bushland, while providing plant biophysical measurements, and evapotranspiration, yield and water use efficiency data to the University PIs for co-authorship in joint publications.

In Year 1, ARS will develop a prototype sensor using extant circuit designs from the wireless infrared temperature sensor developed at Bushland and an off-the-shelf ultrasonic sensor and radio chip. A weather-proof housing will also be designed and built by ARS using a 3-D printer. The sensor will be tested and calibrated over winter wheat in the spring. In the summer of 2023, wireless prototype sensors will be deployed onto a center pivot ISSCADA system and plant height estimate will be compared with physical plant height measurements over cotton and a corn crop. In Years 2 and 3, the improved ISSCADA software from University of Nevada with the crop model module from UC Davis will be installed on the ISSCADA systems at Bushland and used to manage a cotton and corn crop. Weather data will be collected daily from a nearby standalone weather station, plant height, plant width and growth staging will be performed every two weeks, soil water moisture measurements will be made weekly, and hand samples will be taken from each treatment plot over a 10 square-meter area.