Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2012
Publication Date: 12/10/2013
Citation: Evans, R.G., Sadler, E.J. 2013. Chapter 10: Precision agriculture for sustainability and environmental protection. In: Oliver, M.A., Bishop, T.F.A., Marchant, B.P., editors. Site-Specific Irrigation Water Management. Earthscan Food and Agriculture Series. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. p. 172-190.
Technical Abstract: Available supplies of water for irrigation and other uses are becoming more limited around the world, and this trend is accelerating. Emerging computerized precision irrigation technologies will enable growers to apply water and agrochemicals more precisely and site-specifically to match the status and needs of soil and plants as determined by analysis of data from a variety of sensor networks, wireless communications systems, and decision support systems. However, field studies documenting increased profitability using site-specific variable-rate irrigation (SS-VRI) are limited. Speed control and zone control options for SS-VRI are currently available, with speed control the most common. At this time, zone control SS-VRI is primarily being used for eliminating irrigation and chemigation on non-cropped areas of a field. Adoption of SS-VRI technologies for general crop production will require much greater integration of irrigation system hardware, sensor systems, and decision support software, which will be challenging as there are significant gaps in our knowledge. Integration of a decision making process with predictive crop models and distributed sensor networks that provide real-time input to site-specific, adaptive irrigation control is needed. A future limited by water and energy will be the likely catalyst that finally results in the integrated use of several precision agriculture (PA) technologies in irrigated agriculture, including site-specific irrigation strategies and systems. Keywords: Precision agriculture, decision support, automation, irrigation controls, sensors water conservation