Author ORCID Identifier
Bryan G. Hopkins https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7313-055X
Matthew Heaton https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4654-9827
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Understanding spatial and temporal dynamics of soil water within fields is critical for effective variable rate irrigation (VRI) management. The objectives of this study were to develop VRI zones, manage irrigation rates within VRI zones, and examine temporal differences in soil volumetric water content (VWC) from irrigation events via soil sensors across zones. Five irrigation zones were delineated after two years (2016 and 2017) of yield and evapotranspiration (ET) data collection. Soil sensors were placed within each zone to give real time data of VWC values and assist in irrigation decisions within a 23 ha field of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum ‘UI Magic’) near Grace, Idaho, USA (2019). Cumulative irrigation rates among zones ranged from 236 to 298 mm. Although a statistical comparison could not be made, the irrigation rates were 0.6 to 21% less than an estimated uniform grower standard practice (GSP) irrigation approach. Based on soil sensor data, crop water stress was avoided with VRI management in all but Zone 3. Thus, this simple approach to VRI zone delineation and VWC monitoring has the potential to reduce irrigation, such as this study, on average by 12% and should be evaluated in other site-years to assess its viability.
Flint, E.A.; Hopkins, B.G.; Svedin, J.D.; Kerry, R.; Heaton, M.J.; Jensen, R.R.; Campbell, C.S.; Yost, M.A.; Hansen, N.C. Irrigation Zone Delineation and Management with a Field-Scale Variable Rate Irrigation System in Winter Wheat. Agronomy 2023, 13, 1125. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/agronomy13041125