Sensor-Driven Irrigation Management

The next step forward for advancing irrigation management, especially in the sub-humid eastern portion of the Great Plains, is increasing adoption rates of scientific irrigation scheduling, with a primary benefit of improving crop water productivity and reducing nitrate leaching. Primary barriers to adoption include the labor required and the lack of a significant economic incentive. Adoption rates would likely be higher if scientific irrigation scheduling was automated and reliable. In order to be automated, center pivots will need to be sensor driven. In order to be reliable, they will need to incorporate multiple types of sensors, which will reduce the uncertainty associated with the decision of when and how much to irrigate (Chavez et al., 2020; Zhang et al., 2021). Ongoing research is focusing on both soil water sensors and plant canopy sensors (Singh et al., 2020; Singh et al., 2021; Bhatti et al., 2022).

Presentation at the Water for Food Global Forum

Extension Article

Journal Articles

  • Bhatti, S., Heeren, D. M., Evett, S. R., O’Shaughnessy, S. A., Neale, C. M. U., Rudnick, D. R., Franz, T. E., & Ge, Y. 2022. Crop response to thermal stress without yield loss in irrigated maize and soybean in Nebraska. Agricultural Water Management 274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2022.107946
  • Bhatti, S., D. M. Heeren, S. A. O’Shaughnessy, S. R. Evett, M. S. Maguire, S. P. Kashyap, and C. M. U. Neale. 2022. Comparison of stationary and mobile canopy sensing systems for irrigation management of maize and soybean in Nebraska. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 38(2): 331-342. https://doi.org/10.13031/aea.14945
  • Singh, J., Y. Ge, D. M. Heeren, E. A. Walter-Shea, C. M. U. Neale, S. Irmak, W. E. Woldt, G. Bai, S. Bhatti, and M. M. Maguire. 2021. Inter-relationships between water depletion and temperature differential in row crop canopies in a sub-humid climate. Agricultural Water Management 256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2021.107061
  • Zhang, J., K. Guan, B. Peng, C. Jiang, W. Zhou, Y. Yang, M. Pan, T. E. Franz, D. M. Heeren, D. R. Rudnick, O. Abimbola, H. Kimm, K. Caylor, S. Good, M. Khanna, J. Gates, and Y. Cai. 2021. Challenges and opportunities in precision irrigation decision-support systems for center pivots. Environmental Research Letters 16: 053003. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abe436
  • Chavez, J. L., A. F. Torres-Rua, W. E. Woldt, H. Zhang, C. Robertson, G. W. Marek, D. Wang, D. M. Heeren, S. Taghvaeian, and C. M. U. Neale 2020. A decade of unmanned aerial systems in irrigated agriculture in the Western U.S. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 36(4): 423-436. https://doi.org/10.13031/aea.13941
  • Singh, J., D. M. Heeren, D. R. Rudnick, W. E. Woldt, G. Bai, Y. Ge, and J. D. Luck. 2020. Soil structure and texture effects on the precision of soil water content measurements with a capacitance-based electromagnetic sensor. Transactions of the ASABE 63(1): 141-152. https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.13496