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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Water Management and Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #359042

Research Project: Management Strategies to Sustain Irrigated Agriculture with Limited Water Supplies

Location: Water Management and Systems Research

Title: Evaluation of multispectral unmanned aerial systems for irrigation management

item Chavez, Jose - Colorad0 State University
item Zhang, Huihui
item Capurra, Maria Cristina - Colorad0 State University
item Masih, Ashish - Colorad0 State University
item Altenhofen, Jon - Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/21/2018
Publication Date: 7/16/2018
Citation: Chavez, J.L., Zhang, H., Capurra, M., Masih, A., Altenhofen, J. 2018. Evaluation of multispectral unmanned aerial systems for irrigation management. Meeting Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: Growing competition for water is incentivizing the implementation of deficit irrigation. Thus, there is a need to accurately map actual crop evapotranspiration (ETa) to more efficiently manage and document irrigation. An alternative is the use of remote sensing (RS) platforms. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) can fly frequently and acquire very high spatial resolution images. Multispectral UASs (fixed-wing and multi-rotor) flew over irrigated corn fields, in northern Colorado, to evaluate the capabilities of the RS systems on irrigation management. Soil water content sensors were used in the evaluation. Using multispectral UAS platforms in irrigation management is advantageous in regards to having the capability to assess crop water use and stress frequently and at very high spatial resolutions. This study shows that inferring crop water use and soil water status with acceptable errors is possible with visible-near-infrared and thermal cameras. Furthermore, the required imagery processing and calibration is detailed.