Submitted to: Irrigation Journal
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Interest in precision, or site-specific, agriculture has increased during the last decade. Most emphasis has been on site-specific nutrient and herbicide management, which can be practiced on all fields, whether rain-fed or irrigated. For much of the western and an increasing area in the eastern USA, irrigation water is an important managed input. Variation in soil, landscape, or land use can cause the recommended irrigation amount to vary correspondingly, suggesting site-specific irrigation may be a useful solution to the management problem. The authors and their coworkers have developed site-specific irrigation machines at four research centers in the USA. Concepts of precision agriculture as applied to irrigation are reviewed in this article. Experiences at the four sites in design, implementation, and operation of the machines are described so that irrigation managers, consultants, and extension personnel can gain familiarity with this new technology. Specific topics unique to site-specific irrigation include variable-rate sprinklers, controllers, and pumping systems. However, these hardware considerations are well ahead of the agronomic knowledge needed to recommend irrigation amounts on different soils. Research conducted at these four centers using these site-specific irrigation machines is helping develop this necessary information.