Continuous canopy temperature as a tool for managing deficit irrigation
Young, Andrew W.
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Deficit irrigation is becoming a trend in agricultural lands with reduced water. With the declining water resources comes renewed interest in deficit irrigation strategies and enhanced management capabilities to provide water when and where it is needed. However, in the past, plant-monitoring capabilities to assess water status of the plant were very costly and labor intensive. The innovation in infrared thermometry systems has allowed for the technology to become smaller and more cost efficient. This investigation uses the established method of BIOTIC developed by research scientist at USDA/ARS. The BIOTIC method has been patented and licensed by a new technology startup company, Smartfield™, under the moniker Smartcrop™. The research conducted used the Smartcrop™ technology, which consists of wireless infrared sensors and base stations for recording data from sensors. This thesis focused on the 2009 and 2010 cotton growing seasons in the Lubbock area. Water and yield data were discussed and analyzed in detail along with other environmental data relevant to plant growth and yield. Analysis and discussion of large temperature data sets were conducted. Canopy temperature comparisons were made using the BIOTIC method along with air vs. canopy temperature comparisons and treatment temperature comparisons. Vapor pressure deficits were also discussed in detail for selected treatments over the growing seasons. Finally, daytime average canopy temperature comparisons provided accurate estimates of water through the plant as a predictor of yield.
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