Case Studies and Outreach using Irrigation Scheduler Mobile and Android Development

Project ID: 2000
Principal Investigator: Jama Hamel
Research Topic: Agriculture Water Supplies
Funded Fiscal Years: 2016
Keywords: None

Research Question

Irrigation water is a limited resource, and with climate change becoming more prevalent,
supplies are becoming more limited in some years by drought, and overall supply reduced by
competition from municipal, industry or other users. Benefits to farmers from more effective
water use include the ability to grow high quality crops and water more acres in water-short
years while reducing pumping costs and the potential for deep percolation of water-soluble
crop nutrients such as nitrogen. With proper irrigation scheduling, surface water quality
concerns, usually minor with sprinkler irrigation, should be reduced even more. Overall societal
benefits include better utilization of limited water resources, reduced energy input, and reduced
ground water pollution potential. Possible areas for reduction in the amount of water applied for
malting barley production include 1) better matching the timing and amount of irrigation to crop
need during early and mid-season, e.g. better irrigation scheduling, 2) better late-season
irrigation management, and 3) improved irrigation system maintenance. Extension /outreach
activities to remind farmers of the potential for water and energy savings in these areas, and
delivery of tools to accomplish improved irrigation water management (IWM) can reduce water
application.
Quality characteristics of malting barley (plumpness, test weight, color, protein content,…)
determine if barley meets contract requirements for purchase. Barley not accepted may then be
sold at reduced price for other purposes. Because water stress at certain crop stages can reduce
quality, many farmers tend to over water to assure that no water stress occurs and their crop is
not rejected. This practice uses more water and electrical power than is really required to
produce the crop. Will use of the Irrigation Scheduler app (partially funded by S&T) and better
irrigation practices allow irrigators to reduce water consumption without compromising quali

Need and Benefit

ET data is becoming more available with advancing technology and water supplies dwindling,
however use of the data is not increasing on the same scale. Irrigators and other water
professionals often question the quantity of water saved, reliability of ET data and how using the
data will affect their crop yield and quality. These questions are difficult to answer, as case study
information is limited and the data that is available is geared more toward the academic
community. This project will provide water savings, crop yield and quantity information and
instructions on how to use the data in a format friendly to any audience. This will come from
close work with AB barley growers to determine how we can simplify or adjust tools to make
them more user friendly and easier to understand. It will then be applied to a broader
application for all crops and users. Development of the Android app will also provide Android
users with the same functionality as iOS and desktop users.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17