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Water Wednesday Recap: Precision Agriculture and Irrigation

Water Wednesdays in February focus on Precision Agriculture. Last Wednesday, Dr. Guzman, the Assistant Professor at the Indian River Research and Education Center, joined us and discussed precision agriculture and irrigation.

Merriam-Webster defines Irrigation as “the watering of land by artificial means to foster plant growth.” The artificial means that are used in watering define the type of irrigation, such as efficient irrigation, smart irrigation, and precision irrigation.

Precision Irrigation is also called site-septic irrigation. It is a tool of precision farming that involves the delivery of irrigation water in optimum amounts over an entire field. It is a new generation of innovative systems to monitor and control soil moisture deficiency and irrigation. As we know, very few fields are uniform, the need for irrigation may differ between different zones of a particular field. Most currently used irrigation systems apply water at constant rates. Therefore, some areas of a field may receive too much water and other areas of a field may not receive enough water. Excessive water application could contribute to surface water runoff or leaching of nutrients and chemicals to groundwater. Precision irrigation systems would have the ability to apply the right amount of water directly where it is needed, hence saving water and preventing excessive water runoff and leaching.

 

Smart Irrigation can be used to implement conventional irrigation and precision irrigation. It utilizes the information about site conditions, such as soil moisture, rain, wind, slope, soil, plant type, and more, and applies the right amount of water based on those factors. It often relies on real-time data and big data. The reason that it is called smart is because the system can do all the calculations for you. It receives feedback from the irrigated system and schedule or adjust irrigation duration and/or frequency accordingly.

With the advancement of technologies, the line between precision irrigation and smart irrigation is becoming blurry. An irrigation system can be both precise and smart. The essential goal is to replenish plant water requirements and distribute nutrients in the root zone.

To learn more about precision agriculture and irrigation management, please watch the recording: https://youtu.be/lCNwoGNR9bE

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