Matthew Rhine from the MU Fisher Delta Research Center presented information about a new app at the recent Missouri Rice Council annual Rice Field Day at the Rice Research Farm in Campbell, Missouri. The Crop Water Use app, available from CropWater.org, is helping growers make the best use of their irrigation systems.
“What we’ve done with the development of the Crop Water Use app is, we want to make it more efficient for farmers to irrigate each of their crops. So they can put each of their fields into the app, they can put in the soil type, the crop they’re using, planting date, rooting depth that they want to use and it’s going to essentially give us the soil/water balance for that particular field, so they can monitor what they’re loosing in evaporation, transportation, and what they’re putting back with irrigation. So it’s going to tell them exactly the day they’re going to trigger their irrigation for that crop,” Rhine explained.
The app takes into account water lost through evaporation, transpiration of the plant, and ground water. It factors in how much water the plant can use based on the growth stage of the crop and it triggers a signal for irrigation.
In addition, researchers are working to establish ideal root depth for various crops. Roots that grow longer can wait longer for water, but at what depth is the yield optimal? Trials last season suggested irrigation necessary to keep cotton roots near the 6 inch mark caused a loss of yield, while 18 inches may be too inefficient for rice.
Learn more about the Crop Water Use app and irrigation scheduling in Jamie’s full interview here: Interview with Matthew Rhine, MU Fisher Delta Research Center
View and download photos from the event here: Missouri Rice Field Day Photo Album