Non Technical Summary
This project will utilize engineering principles to integrate existing technologies developed at Clemson University and other states to a) develop an intelligent overhead irrigation system for site-specific, variable-rate irrigation application based on real-time soil moisture data; b) develop a sensor-based variable-rate fertigation equipment, which can be retrofitted onto variable-rate or conventional overhead irrigation systems; c) develop the new IWNP system that combines the intelligent overhead irrigation and the sensor-based fertigation equipment, and evaluate its performance with respects to design specifications and its effects on water, energy, and N use efficiencies in crop productions and to develop practical guidelines for N fertigation rates and frequency through an overhead irrigation system; d) determine the economic and environmental impacts of the IWNP program on farming systems in the Southeast; e) implement a robust and far-reaching training program for producers, county agents, crop advisors and consultants, and technology providers to directly teach the IWNP system to interested individuals; f) incorporate the fundamentals of IWNP technology into formal courses, offered to undergraduate & graduate students at Clemson University; and g) utilize UAVs for monitoring, measurement, and other data collection in crop production.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
The long-term goal of this multidisciplinary, integrated (research, education, and extension) project is to utilize engineering principles to develop and test advanced concepts and technologies, to help farmers improve the efficiency of water, energy, and plant nutrients use in agricultural production, to optimize farm profit while minimizing the effect of production practices on the environment. The specific research, Extension, and education objectives are:RESEARCH OBJECTIVES:To develop an intelligent overhead irrigation system for site-specific, variable-rate irrigation applications based on real-time soil moisture.To develop a variable-rate Nitrogen (N) application equipment, which can be retrofitted onto a variable-rate overhead irrigation system. The system should utilize real-time optical sensor data to calculate N requirements and apply N independently of irrigation water flow.To develop the combined IWNP system and evaluate its performance with respect to design specifications and its effects on water, energy, and N use efficiencies in crop productions and to develop practical guidelines for N fertigation rates and frequency through an overhead irrigation system.To determine the economic and environmental impact of the IWNP program on farming systems in the Southeast.EXTENSION OBJECTIVES:To develop and disseminate a robust and innovative training program for producers, county agents, crop advisors, and consultants, and technology providers to directly teach the IWNP system to interested clientele.EDUCATION OBJECTIVES:To incorporate the fundamentals of IWNP technology into the 'Advanced Precision Agriculture Science and Technology (AGM 8710)' and 'Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Agricultural Production (AGM 4730)' courses, offered to undergraduate & graduate students at Clemson University.
The combined water and nutrient management technique called the 'Intelligent Water and Nutrient Placement - (IWNP)' system that will be developed under this project, will utilize smart sensing and model-based decision support systems that could be readily adopted by farmers on both small and large scales. This advanced technology will make it much easier and cost-effective for farmers to apply irrigation water and nutrients (i.e. Nitrogen) where, when, and in the amount needed to meet crop requirements. The new system which could be retrofitted on existing overhead irrigation equipment will automate site-specific irrigation and fertigation applications based on real-time sensor data (soil moisture sensors installed on-site and optical sensors mounted on the irrigation system) or prescription maps developed using data from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The system will also respond to spatial variability resulting from changes in soil types, land use, crop types, and topography. This project will also devise and implement an aggressive outreach training and educational program to hasten the adoption of the IWNP technology for site-specific irrigation and nutrient management. Furthermore, this project will incorporate the fundamentals of IWNP technology into formal courses to train the next generation of scientists and educators.