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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 #354822

Research Project: Precipitation and Irrigation Management to Optimize Profits from Crop Production

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Advantages and disadvantages of variable rate irrigation using mechanical move systems

item O`Shaughnessy, Susan
item Evett, Steven - Steve
item Colaizzi, Paul
item ANDRADE, MANUEL - Orise Fellow
item MAREK, THOMAS - Texas A&M Agrilife

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2018
Publication Date: 8/1/2018
Citation: Oshaughnessy, S.A., Evett, S.R., Colaizzi, P.D., Andrade, M.A., Marek, T.H. 2018. Advantages and disadvantages of variable rate irrigation using mechanical move systems [abstract]. ASABE Annual International Meeting. Paper No. 1801440.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Crop water status within a field can be spatially and temporally variable, which can affect optimal irrigation amounts needed for maximum profitability. One way to optimize irrigation amounts over space and time is variable rate irrigation (VRI). VRI is adaptable to mechanical move irrigation systems, particularly center pivots, and is now commercially available. VRI can be accomplished on mechanical move systems using speed control or zone control. Speed control is relatively simple and requires little additional investment, whereas zone control entails greater complexity and capital costs but with greater potential to tailor water applications where needed and avoid irrigating nonproductive areas. Adoption and operation of VRI is not straightforward, and there is a paucity of data to support VRI prescriptions and return-on-investment analyses. Decision support systems to ease development of VRI prescription maps are also either lacking or in need of improvement. This paper presents advantages and challenges concerning the use of current VRI systems. We also review on-going research aimed at overcoming these challenges.