Irrigation scheduling

made easy…


Learn about this cloud-based app that is taking the difficulty out of irrigation scheduling and helping growers save water and time.

By R. Troy Peters, PE, PhD G

ood irrigation water management can increase yields and improve crop quality. On top of that, it can decrease fertilizer requirements, save pumping energy costs, conserve water and reduce nonpoint source pollution.

In short, everybody wins! The grower can be more profitable, and the environment is healthier.

A grower’s time is valuable. They have so many things to know and do that it is not possible for them to be experts in every aspect of farming from machinery repair to plant pathogens. For any irrigation scheduling tool to be worth a grower taking the time to actually use it, it must be easy to use and intuitive. If the tool requires inputting information that is not readily available, such as crop coefficients or the soil’s water-holding capacity, the grower will quickly decide not to use it. A tool that utilizes simplified assumptions is more beneficial than a tool that is not used because it is overly complex and takes too much time to learn. In addition, most agricultural producers are constantly on the go and do not get many opportunities for desk work. Therefore, tools to aid in irrigation scheduling must be quick to learn, intuitive to use and available on a mobile phone as well as a desktop computer.

Developing a tool

In an attempt to meet these specific needs, Washington State University extension irrigation specialists and I partnered with AgWeatherNet Director Gerrit Hoogenboom and AgWeatherNet Web Developer Sean Hill to develop Irrigation Scheduler Mobile.

14 Irrigation TODAY | April 2019

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