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Development of the Mississippi Irrigation Scheduling Tool - MIST

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

Citation:  Paper number  131619807,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Gretchen F. Sassenrath, Amy M. Schmidt, Jeanne M. Schneider, Mary Love Tagert, H. van Riessen, J. Q. Corbitt, J. Crumpton, B. Rice, R. Thornton, R. Prabhu, J. Pote, C. Wax
Keywords:   irrigation scheduling crop water use decision support tools

Abstract. Increasingly variable and uncertain rainfall patterns together with higher production input costs have led farmers to rely on supplemental irrigation to enhance production. While many irrigation methods have been developed for dry climates, few tools are available for humid, high rainfall areas. Moreover, most scheduling tools require extensive data collection, entry and simulation runs, limiting their practical utility during the production season. The Mississippi Irrigation Scheduling Tool (MIST) has been designed as a web-based, easy to use management tool for crop producers. An estimate of crop water use is made using the modified Penman Monteith equation to calculate daily evapotranspiration. The “checkbook” water balance method sums the water balance of the soil, plus water from rainfall or irrigation, minus water used by the crop or evaporated from the soil. This method indicates the need for irrigation when the soil water available to the plant falls below that which is readily available for crop growth. To enhance utility, the MIST has been implemented in a web interface, allowing producers to access the information from anywhere through tablet computers or smart phones. To reduce the data entry requirements, the system relies on national databases for automated integration with a water balance model. The system was tested at multiple production sites during the 2011, 2012 and 2013 growing seasons. Here, we give details on the development of input parameters for the water balance calculation, including crop water use and soil moisture, and compare the calculated water balance during the growing season for corn and soybeans with measured soil moisture measurements. The MIST will provide producers, consultants and other professional colleagues with a reliable, accurate, and easy to use tool for improved water management. Because this tool is designed for use by producers, primary units of measure are in English units, with metric equivalents reported parenthetically.

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