Irrigation for the future
Every field has an economic sweet spot. When water is expensive or limited the sweet spot changes.
Finding it can take years of experience. Or a fast computer. Best to have both.
To target the economic optimum, first calculate the productivity of water – how water relates to yield — for the unique conditions of the field and farm. This makes it possible to accurately answer questions like:
The first 10% and the last 10% of water applied to a crop have very limited impacts on yields. It’s the irrigation in between that makes the difference between profits and losses.
Target the productivity of water
The graphic above shows a typical water production function (this one is for wheat). When a field is fully irrigated (top of the curve) the last increments of applied water produce relatively little yield. If a farm has more land than water, the last 10% or 20% might be better used on additional land.
IMO models and calculates these relationships field by field. It defines and schedules irrigation strategies to target any point on the curve.
IMO defines the productivity of water per field or management unit. This is used to identify optimal water use volumes based on the economics of the farm. The user determines how much water to target. IMO translates this into highly accurate, full season schedules.
Calculating the productivity of water for almonds, client farm, Western Merced County
Plan and pre-test irrigation strategies for different levels of applied water
Calibrate IMO to the unique conditions of the field, crop, irrigation system, microclimate, and management goals.
Pre-test timing strategies to match different amounts of water to critical growth stages, for the constraints of the field. The blue and yellow graphs (right) show target patterns of seasonal soil moisture for three levels of water use for almonds*.
IMO translates the target water volume and soil moisture pattern into full season irrigation schedules: dates, amounts, run times. Adaptable for energy use and labor.
Accurately predict how a schedule will influence soil moisture volume at +/- 10% across the season — without additional soil moisture readings. (We recommend periodically checking soil moisture).
* The production function for almonds used here is based on 30 years of private and public research from California, Australia, and Spain. This one is calibrated for a site in western Merced County.
Water is yield. Every field is different.
To know the value of each irrigation during the season is to know when and when not to irrigate to maximize profits.
We at Irrigation for the Future develop planning and management tools used by irrigators to calculate and target the productivity of water, field-by-field, year over year, for the life of the asset.