Texas Agriculture October 2, 2015 : Page 14

New sensors will improve irrigation efficiency red thermometers, that measure the plant's temperature. These are hung Texas farmers will soon have an-off a center pivot laterally so they can other tool in the fight to conserve and measure the canopy temperature and preserve the state's most natural re-send back information as to whether source, water, while still maintaining or not an area needs to be watered. good yields. The second are soil-water sensors. Developed by Dr. Susan Together, they allow researchers like O'Shaughnessy, a research agri-O'Shaughnessy to manage the vari-cultural engineer for the U.S. De-able rate center pivot system. partment of Agriculture Research The system allows farmers to Service (USDA-ARS) and colleagues, digitize their crop's status so they can the new system included two types see which parts of a field are more of sensors. stressed than others. The first are plant sensors, or infra-T:4.8” "We can do that with temperature," By Jessica Domel Field Editor With harvest season right around the corner, it’s more important than ever that your equipment works when you need it to. With Mobil Delvac ™ heavy-duty diesel engine oil, you can depend on proven protection and performance. Available at Sam’s Club. O'Shaughnessy, who is based out of Bushland, said. "When the plant is water-stressed, its stomates will close and canopy temperature elevates." The sensors will pick up that rise in temperature and provide farmers with a map of the field showing which areas have higher temperatures. "The farmer can ideally walk those areas to see what's specifically going on," O'Shaughnessy said. "Maybe a nozzle is plugged in the pivot system. Maybe there's a pest infestation." The system, which O'Shaughnessy has been working on since 2007, is designed to also improve crop water use efficiency. "We're looking to save water by not over-watering, but still producing high yields," O'Shaughnessy said. "This will give the farmer some hints as to are they over-or under-irrigating." The technical information on the sensors and the system has been pro-vided to a third party company who commercialized them. O'Shaughnessy is also working with a colleague who is in the process of developing a soil-water sensor that can be put into the ground to measure soil-water content at different depths and then relay that information back wirelessly. "We're automating this mainly to provide a spatial map to present to a farmer and then some decision sup-port," O'Shaughnessy said. In a few years, it's possible that O'Shaughnessy's research will be available to help farmers and plant breeders across the state. "We're trying to make it simple," O'Shaughnessy said. "That's why the software integration is so important." 14 © 2015 Exxon Mobil Corporation. Mobil and Mobil Delvac are trademarks or registered trademarks of Exxon Mobil Corporation Sow, reap, repeat T:7” O CTOBER 2, 2015 USDA-ARS is developing sensors for center pivot irrigation systems to conserve water resources while maintaining yields. © 2015 Exxon Mobil Corporation. Mobil and Mobil Delvac are trademarks or registered trademarks of Exxon Mobil Corporation or one of its subsidiaries. Other trademarks and product names used herein are the property of their respective owners.

New sensors Will Improve Irrigation Efficiency

Jessica Domel

Texas farmers will soon have another tool in the fight to conserve and preserve the state's most natural resource, water, while still maintaining good yields.

Developed by Dr. Susan O'Shaughnessy, a research agricultural engineer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) and colleagues, the new system included two types of sensors.

The first are plant sensors, or infra-red thermometers, that measure the plant's temperature. These are hung off a center pivot laterally so they can measure the canopy temperature and send back information as to whether or not an area needs to be watered.

The second are soil-water sensors. Together, they allow researchers like O'Shaughnessy to manage the variable rate center pivot system.

The system allows farmers to digitize their crop's status so they can see which parts of a field are more stressed than others.

"We can do that with temperature," O'Shaughnessy, who is based out of Bushland, said. "When the plant is water-stressed, its stomates will close and canopy temperature elevates."

The sensors will pick up that rise in temperature and provide farmers with a map of the field showing which areas have higher temperatures.

"The farmer can ideally walk those areas to see what's specifically going on," O'Shaughnessy said. "Maybe a nozzle is plugged in the pivot system. Maybe there's a pest infestation."

The system, which O'Shaughnessy has been working on since 2007, is designed to also improve crop water use efficiency.

"We're looking to save water by not over-watering, but still producing high yields," O'Shaughnessy said. "This will give the farmer some hints as to are they over- or under-irrigating."

The technical information on the sensors and the system has been provided to a third party company who commercialized them.

O'Shaughnessy is also working with a colleague who is in the process of developing a soil-water sensor that can be put into the ground to measure soil-water content at different depths and then relay that information back wirelessly.

"We're automating this mainly to provide a spatial map to present to a farmer and then some decision support," O'Shaughnessy said.

In a few years, it's possible that O'Shaughnessy's research will be available to help farmers and plant breeders across the state.

"We're trying to make it simple," O'Shaughnessy said. "That's why the software integration is so important."

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/New+sensors+Will+Improve+Irrigation+Efficiency/2287074/275327/article.html.

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