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Irrigation Scheduling

What is Irrigation Scheduling?

Using information to make a decision about when and how much water to apply

Can range from general information about a broad region to very specific information about areas of a field

Irrigation scheduling methods

Can range from qualitative feeling that need to apply water to prevent damaging crop stress

quantitative soil water budgets for individual fields at various levels of detail

Visual observations Measure current moisture status Maintain soil water budget of the root zone Automatic irrigations


Possible Irrigation Scheduling Management Objectives

Maximum yield/biomass production Maximum economic return Functional value of plants (e.g., athletic fields) Aesthetic value of plants (e.g., landscapes) Keeping plants alive

Water Availability Thresholds

frmin = minimum fraction of available water remaining before plant stress occurs fdmax = maximum allowable fraction of available water depletion before plant stress occurs fdmax = 1 - frmin fdmax depends on species, genotype, weather Rule-of-Thumb: fdmax = 0.50 (use this rule with caution)

-Moisture AccountingSoil Water Reservoir

TAW = (Rd) (AWC)
TAW = total available water, (in. or mm)

AD = fdmax (TAW)
AD = management allowed deficit, (in. or mm)

MB = frmin (TAW)
MB = minimum balance (min. allowable available soil water), (in. or mm)

TAW = AD + MB SWD= (Rd)(AWC)(fd) - SWD=Soil Water Deficit

Irrigation Timing
Maximum irrigation interval, (days)

T max AD ETc
Actual irrigation interval, (days)

d e T ETc
de = effective depth of irrigation, (in. or mm)

Latest Date
AD SWD LD ETc( forecast )
LD = maximum number of days before irrigation should occur ETc(forecast) can be based on long-term averages or last few days

Earliest Date
ra dep SWD ED ETc( forecast )
ED = minimum number of days before irrigation should occur dep = planned effective depth of water ra = rainfall allowance (allow room in the profile beyond dep)

Earliest Date

Components of Crop Root Zone Water Balance

Soil Water Budget Calculations

SWDi = SWDi-1 + ETc i-1 - de i-1 - Pe i-1 - Uf i-1 Subscripts: i = today i-1 = yesterday

(all quantities below in consistent depth units: inches, mm, etc.)

SWD= soil water deficit ETc = crop evapotranspiration de = effective irrigation Pe = effective precipitation Uf = upward flow of water from a shallow water table


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