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Development of irrigation scheduling tools for the humid, high-rainfall environment of the Lower Mississippi Delta

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  5th National Decennial Irrigation Conference Proceedings, 5-8 December 2010, Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona USA  IRR10-9797.(doi:10.13031/2013.35855)
Authors:   Gretchen F Sassenrath, H C Pringle, III, D K Fisher, Scott Samson, Amy M Schmidt, Bijay Shrestha
Keywords:   Irrigation scheduling; web-based irrigation tools; water management; humid climates

Irrigation in hot, humid areas is particularly challenging because irrigation must be applied in a timely manner to prevent yield loss due to crop water stress, yet avoid flooding should a rain event follow irrigation. Moreover, it is difficult to detect the onset of crop water stress under environmental conditions that limit evaporative cooling. The goal of this project is to develop reliable, easy to use irrigation scheduling tools that integrate crop monitoring and accurate weather predictions to improve the timing and application of irrigation in humid, high rainfall environments for better water management. The irrigation decision support system is based on calculations of crop water use from weather data collected from weather stations throughout Mississippi using crop coefficients developed from weighing lysimeters and other sources. A water balance approach is used to indicate when supplemental irrigation is needed based on available water and crop water use. This is integrated with other publicly available, spatially registered farm and soil databases to develop specific irrigation scheduling recommendations. A web-based interface is being developed to deliver the irrigation decision support system to producers through an easy to use and readily accessible format. Training materials will be developed and presented to producers through on-site training and other standard Extension mechanisms.

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