Water and Agriculture: Irrigation
Irrigation is used to provide water needed by plants that is not provided by rainfall. How irrigation is managed and the type of water used for irrigation varies throughout the state depending on the particular crop and resources available. A fundamental component of efficient irrigation is to determine the quantity of irrigation needed and when to apply it, or irrigation scheduling.
Reclaimed Water as an Irrigation Source
Traditionally, groundwater and surface water resources were used for irrigation. However, the demand on water supplies has led to a growing interest in reclaimed water sources.
- Reclaimed Water Use for Edible Crop Production in Florida http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss561
- Reclaimed Water and Florida’s Water Reuse Program http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae448
Irrigation systems may be managed using different approaches. In addition, irrigation systems may be modified to increase water use efficiency or to accommodate new production conditions.
- Vegetable Production Handbook. Chapter 3. Principles and Practices of Irrigation Management for Vegetables http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv297
- Converting from seepage irrigation to plasticulture for vegetable production: a case study and on-farm demonstration. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1246
- Subsurface drip irrigation to improve water distribution of seepage irrigation systems in Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1217
Irrigation scheduling refers to how the amount and timing of irrigation is determined. There are different ways to approach irrigation scheduling, including soil moisture sensor (SMS) based methods and evapotranspiration or weather based methods. Tensiometric methods may also be used.
SMS-based irrigation scheduling relies on using a sensor to estimate soil water content for making decisions on when to irrigate.
- Minimum Number of Soil Moisture Sensors for Monitoring and Irrigation Purposes http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1222
- Using Multi-Sensor Soil Moisture Probes to Decide When and How Long to Run Drip Irrigation http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae505
- Automatic Irrigation Based on Soil Moisture for Vegetable Crops http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae354
- Field Devices for Monitoring Soil water Content http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae266
- Interpretation of Soil Moisture Content to Determine Soil Field Capacity and Avoid Over-Irrigating Sandy Soils Using Soil Moisture Sensors http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae460
- Converting from seepage irrigation to plasticulture for vegetable production: A case study http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1246
- Virtual field day with water and nutrient management http://vfd.ifas.ufl.edu/water-nutrient-management.shtml
II. Weather/evapotranspiration (ET) data
Weather- or ET-based scheduling relies on weather data to create a water balance which estimates irrigation needs.
- Series on ET based irrigation scheduling http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_series_et-based_irrigation_scheduling_for_agriculture
- ET based methods for irrigation https://vimeo.com/85856483
III. Smartphone Apps
Smartphone apps have been developed to assist with determining irrigation schedules for different commodities.
- SmartIrrigation Avocado App: A Step-by-Step Guide http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae513
- Website with videos on apps http://abe.ufl.edu/faculty/kwm/apps.html
- SmartIrrigation Apps — A partnership of the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Tensiometeric methods rely on using soil-water suction as a measurement of plant-available water.
- Using Tensiometers for Vegetable Irrigation Scheduling in Miami-Dade County http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/tr015
- Irrigation Scheduling for Tropical Fruit Groves in South Florida http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/tr001