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PRECISION IRRIGATION - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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PRECISION IRRIGATION. By: Nick Baldwin. Irrigation in the United States. Number of farms irrigated: 220,163 Total acres: 52,583,431 Water used (total acre-ft): 86,894,031. Top 5 States for Irrigation California 8,856,326 acres

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By: Nick Baldwin


Irrigation in the United States

  • Number of farms irrigated: 220,163
  • Total acres: 52,583,431
  • Water used (total acre-ft): 86,894,031

Top 5 States for Irrigation

  • California 8,856,326 acres
  • Nebraska 7,536,860 acres
  • Texas 4,944,631 acres
  • Arkansas 3,999,645 acres
  • Idaho 3,182,176 acres

Type of Irrigations

Flood (furrow) Irrigation

Center-Pivot Irrigation systems

Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA)

Subsurface Irrigation



Flood (furrow) Irrigation Systems

  • Flood irrigation is the least expensive irrigation method where water is relatively cheap.
  • It should only be used on very flat fields, where ponding is not a problem.
  • Flooding is a good way to flush salts out of the soil.
  • It is highly inefficient, however, when speaking of water loss through evaporation.

Center-Pivot Irrigation Vs. LEPA Center-Pivot Irrigation Systems

  • Center-Pivot up to 35 percent, is lost because of evaporation and the blowing winds.
  • Center-Pivot LEPA systems allow more than 90-percent of the water pumped to be used by the crop.
  • Crop water use efficiency increased by 50%-75%. Water savings compared to any surface irrigation up to 45-70%.

Subsurface Irrigation and Drip/Microirrigation

  • Subsurface irrigation water below the ground surface by using a buried perforated or porous pipe system that discharges directly into the root zone.
  • In properly designed and operated systems, little or no wetting of the soil surface occurs.
  • Microirrigation is a low pressure, low volume irrigation system suitable for high-return value Crops such as fruit and vegetable Crops.
  • Excellent management is needed to maintain the system since clogging of the emitters
  • High initial cost of the systems.

Type of sensors used

  • Infrared Thermo-Couples (IRT)
  • Red Band Wave (RED)
  • Near Infrared Band (NIR)

Irrigation system where sensors control water output

  • Used to optimize irrigation water by using data from crop (plant temperature and Leaf Area Index) and soil.

Thermal Scanner on board a helicopter.

* This was a study done of water stress on cotton in Arizona.


Irrigation Systems apply water at constant rate

  • Infrared pictures used to show water movement.