There is growing scientific interest in the potential role that precision irrigation (PI) can make towards improving crop productivity, and increasing water and energy efficiency in irrigated agriculture. Most progress has been made in arid and semi-arid climates for use in high value crop production where irrigation costs coupled with concerns regarding water scarcity have stimulated PI innovation and development. In temperate and humid climates where irrigation is supplemental to rainfall, PI is less developed but nevertheless offers scope to make more effective use of rainfall, help reduce the non-beneficial losses associated with irrigation (deep drainage, nitrate leaching) and provide farmers with evidence to demonstrate environmentally sustainable practices to processors and retailers. This paper reports on recent experiences in developing precision irrigation in UK field-scale agriculture, drawing on evidence from field research and modelling studies. By combining data from these sources, a critical evaluation focusing on selected technical, agronomic and engineering challenges that need to be overcome are described, including issues regarding PI scheduling, and the delineation of irrigation management zones to ensure compatibility with existing methods of overhead irrigation. The findings have relevance to other countries where irrigation is supplemental and where precision agriculture is gaining popularity.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Agricultural Water Management|
|Early online date||22 Jun 2014|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2015|
- Precision agriculture
- Soil Mapping
- Gaussian Process Regression