As water availability becomes more and more limited in many areas of the Cotton Belt, on-farm water use efficiency becomes even more important.
Cotton Incorporated-funded research continues to fund, evaluate and influence the development of cutting-edge irrigation technologies. Cooperative researchers are currently testing several irrigation monitoring systems that utilize either soil moisture probes, or that evaluate the crop’s canopy temperature to determine water stress.
While these approaches have been used by researchers for some time, the practical value to a farmer has been limited by the requirement of daily trips to the field to read the instrument. Now systems that use affordable cell telemetry to transmit data to the Web are becoming available.
Solutions To Problems
Evaluations in 2010 were encouraging, but researchers encountered a few problems with data gaps. New installed firmware reduced the number of gaps.
“We are working to get these systems to provide reliable, continuous data that is capable of reflecting a field’s current soil or crop conditions,” says Ed Barnes, Cotton Incorporated’s director of agricultural research.
Despite all the challenges, overall progress in wireless technology-based irrigation systems is being made, and producers should expect some practical tools in this area by 2012.
The Cotton Board, which administers Cotton Incorporated’s Research and Promotion program, contributed to
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