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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #206751

Title: A remote irrigation monitoring and control system (RIMCS) for Continuous Move Systems. Part B: Field Testing and Results.

item Chavez Eguez, Jose
item Evans, Robert
item Kim, James
item Iversen, William - Bill

Submitted to: Precision Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2009
Publication Date: 2/1/2010
Citation: Chavez Eguez, J.L., Pierce, F.J., Elliott, T.V., Evans, R.G., Kim, Y., Iversen, W.M. 2010. A remote irrigation monitoring and control system (RIMCS) for Continuous Move Systems. Part B: Field Testing and Results. Precision Agriculture. 11(1):11-26.

Interpretive Summary: Variable irrigation application systems apply less water in some areas and more in others depending on the distributed crop water demand which occurs in agricultural fields due to variability in soil properties and topography. Thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of a remote (wireless) irrigation monitoring and control system (RIMCS) in delivering target amounts of water by location in the field when installed in a linear move (LM). RIMCS performed well for both locations where the system was tested (Washington and North Dakota) by varying water application depths across the length of the spans as well as along the direction of travel of the LM irrigation system. In general, average application errors remained below 10% hence similar to typical uniform application errors of LM and center pivots (CP). RIMCS evaluation was achieved by catch cans water depths applied measurements for four different application patterns: linear increasing, linear decreasing, quadratic, and constant. RIMCS varies water application by sprinkler (nozzle) and by group of sprinklers (nozzles) through the closing and opening of solenoid valves. These valves were attached to relays which in turn were connected to a single board computer that received orders on how to operate nozzles from a remote computer (base). The use of RIMCS for variable irrigation is promising in controlling water application as needed by location in the field. This system will optimize not only water application but also nutrients uptake, thus increasing yields and minimizing nutrients loss. The system is also a very important tool in determining water-related crop yield production functions for applications in crop production under limited irrigation for instance.

Technical Abstract: Precision irrigation systems can have inherent errors that affect the accuracy of variable water application rates and affect the transferability of the control system. The objective of this study was to assess the performance and transferability of a remote irrigation monitoring and control system (RIMCS) designed for precision water management on continuous move irrigation systems. The RIMCS varies water application rates by pulsing nozzles controlled by solenoids connected via relays to a single board computer (SBC) with wireless Ethernet connection to a remote server. The system also monitors irrigation system flow, pressure, position, and wireless field sensor networks. The system was installed on a linear move (LM) irrigation system in Prosser, Washington and on a LM system in the Nesson Valley of North Dakota. For the LM at Prosser, four pre-defined irrigation patterns were imposed under each of two spans and variable rates were applied as a percentage of the nozzle base application rate. Each nozzle was pulsed to create the intended irrigation pattern across the span length and along the LM travel direction. For the LM in the Nesson Valley, a quadratic pattern was imposed pulsing banks of nozzles along the LM travel direction. Standard catch can tests were performed at the middle of the irrigation pattern blocks, at the blocks boundaries, and for the typical LM sprinkler application pattern. The system performance was evaluated by comparing measured catch can water depths with pre-determined target values. Application accuracies with RIMCS were found in the range of uniform application uniformity coefficients of 88 – 96%. The RIMCS was successfully transferred to another LM in North Dakota as indicated by the low application errors of –8.8±8.1% and -0.14±6.7% for spans 2 and 3 respectively.