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Empowering Agricultural Knowledge and Technology

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Empowering Agricultural Knowledge and Technology

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Empowering Agricultural Knowledge and Technology

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Empowering Agricultural Knowledge and Technology

Empowering Agricultural Knowledge and Technology

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planning of irrigation

Integrating new technologies into the effective planning of irrigation schedules towards efficient water use and minimum loss

Y.A. Al-Mulla(1,a), S. Siddiqi(1), I. McCann(2), M. Belhaj(3) and H. Al-Busaidi(1)
1. Department of Soils, Water, and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman; 2Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait; 3International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, Dubai, UAE.

Abstract

Irrigation consumes between 80 to 90% of total water resources in arid regions.

Hence, on one hand, it plays a vital role in food security in these regions, but on the other hand, it is depleting their scarce natural water resources.

Therefore, it is crucial to adopt a mechanism that can preserve the role of irrigation on food security, yet with minimal consumption of the already scarce water so that it can increase water productivity and conservation.

This can be achieved not only by adopting proper modern irrigation systems but also by integrating new technologies into the effective
planning of irrigation schedules so that plants can be supplied with efficient water and minimum loss.

This vital approach is the main aim of this study. This study tests the idea of combining a sensors-based method with a simulation and adaptive controller.

This idea is introduced on three farms using three different types of irrigation systems.

One farm is planted by date palm and lime trees and irrigated by a traditional “Aflaj” irrigation system.

The second farm is also planted with date palm and lime trees but irrigated by a modern “drip” irrigation system.

The third farm is a fan and pad greenhouse planted with tomato and cucumber and irrigated by a modern “drip” irrigation system.

The electronic sensors used include weather station sensors, crop water requirement sensors such as sap flow and leaf water potential meters, and soil properties sensors such as soil water content and potential, soil temperature, and electrical conductivity.

These are used to assess water status and flow through the entire continuum of soil, plant, and atmosphere.

Those were connected to data loggers and remote communication via a cellular network which added a new dimension to irrigation management by enabling near-continuous and near-real-time remote monitoring that contributed substantially to improving irrigation water use.

Keywords: sensors, irrigation scheduling, sap flow, irrigation systems, water productivity, moisture content, leaf water potential, real-time-monitoring, crop water requirements

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