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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #366235

Research Project: Managing Water Availability and Quality for Sustainable Agricultural Production and Conservation of Natural Resources in Humid Regions

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Title: A variable rate irrigation decision support system for corn in the US Eastern Coastal Plain

item Stone, Kenneth - Ken
item BAUER, PHILIP - Retired ARS Employee
item O`Shaughnessy, Susan
item ANDRADE, MANUEL - Former ARS Employee
item Evett, Steven - Steve

Submitted to: Precision Agriculture
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/27/2019
Publication Date: 7/8/2019
Citation: Stone, K.C., Bauer, P.J., Oshaughnessy, S.A., Andrade, M.A., Evett, S.R. 2019. A variable rate irrigation decision support system for corn in the US Eastern Coastal Plain. In: Stafford, J.V., ed. Precision Agriculture '19. Wageningen Academic Publishers. p.673-679.

Interpretive Summary: Variable rate irrigation is a method of irrigating where water is applied to different areas of fields at different application depths. This type of irrigation is more complicated than uniformly applying the same application depth to the entire field. To assist growers in managing these variable rate irrigation systems, researchers in the USDA-ARS have developed a decision support system to manage these spatial water applications. In this research, we evaluated and tested this decision support system in the humid southeastern US coastal plain region. The decision support system function used both soil and plant sensors to manage the irrigations and was compared to a traditional management using only soil moisture sensors. Corn yields for the decision support system were the same as for the traditional management system and both utilized similar irrigation totals.

Technical Abstract: Variable rate irrigation (VRI) systems can apply different water depths both in the direction of travel and along the irrigation system length. In this research, a VRI system was evaluated using the USDA-ARS Irrigation Scheduling and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (ISSCADA) to spatially managing corn irrigation in the US Eastern Coastal Plain. The ISSCADA system utilizes remote sensing of plant canopy temperature, soil moisture, and microclimate to schedule VRI irrigations. Utilizing these measurements, it calculates an integrated crop water stress index and provides a spatial irrigation recommendation. Results from 3-years of field evaluation are discussed.