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IRRINTEGRAL: Management and automated control of irrigation through integration of multiple sources of data in horticultural crops

Starting date: 01/01/2019 End date: 31/12/2021
Programme: Efficient use of water in agriculture

Financing entities:

In order to conduct an efficient irrigation management at plot level it is necessary to determine the spatial variability in water requirements for each irrigation sector. In a previous INIA project, we will demonstrate the functionality of the automated irrigation system IRRIX, which by using meteorological and soil moisture data was able to simulate crop water requirements and to carry out irrigation decisions in realtime. However, irrigation decisions will be conducted based on isolated measurements and are not representative of the heterogeneity within the irrigation sector.

For this reason, in order to conduct an efficient irrigation management, it is necessary to assimilate remote sensing data into the simulations of the web-based platform IRRIX. To achieve it, this project affords the most novel techniques in airborne and satellite remote sensing to determine the vegetative growth, evapotranspiration (ET) and water status. Between them, we will evaluate energy balance models to estimate ET, photogrammetry techniques to estimate the fraction of intercepted radiation (fIR) and leaf area index (LAI), or thermal imagery to estimate the stem water potential. This spatial information will be assimilated in the controlled automated irrigation system and precise irrigation decisions will be conducted differentially throughout the growing season, particularly studying its efficiency under regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) strategies.

Thus, the current algorithms of the platform will be refined and validated based on a water balance model, in order to adapt them to critical conditions of water availability, integrating in the platform new simulations of soil water availability, considering the absorption of water outside the zone influence of the drippers. In addition, we will develop the necessary algorithms to add the fertigation at plot level. Finally, the economic and environmental impact will be analyzed, assessing the water productivity or water footprint.