BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department
BS in BioResource and Agricultural Engineering
Daniel J. Howes
This senior project discusses the design, construction, and evaluation of an irrigation scheduling program that aids users in alfalfa irrigation management, with the potential for application with other crops. The program uses a very accurate irrigation prediction model that forecasts what the estimated irrigation need of each week will be, as well as the number of irrigations needed to satisfy the requirement. The model was found to predict the sum of the actual required weekly irrigation amount within less than 1% of the true value. The program was based off the single crop coefficient approach that was outlined previously by the work of Allen et al. (1998). The developed program was tested against a real irrigation scenario that occurred during 2010 in Palmdale, CA. The irrigation system that was used applied effluent water to the alfalfa hay with a center pivot sprinkler system. The results from the testing and evaluation of the program showed that the average crop coefficient for the entire year using the single crop coefficient produced a value that was only 2% greater than the standard that was calculated using the dual crop coefficient approach. The system is based in Microsoft Excel and focuses on being user-friendly for any farmer or irrigation manager.