2013 journal article

Water Application Efficiency and Adequacy of ET-Based and Soil Moisture-Based Irrigation Controllers for Turfgrass Irrigation


By: G. Grabow n, I. Ghali n, R. Huffman n, G. Miller n, D. Bowman n & A. Vasanth

author keywords: Water management; Irrigation; Scheduling; Soil water; Automation
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 6, 2018

Increasing competition for water and the desire for high-quality turfgrass require sound irrigation water management. The main objective of this study was to evaluate two types of commercially available irrigation control technologies: one based on evapotranspiration (ET) estimates and the other based on feedback from a soil-moisture sensor (SMS). Irrigation treatments were combinations of controller technology: a timer-based standard controller system (TIM), an add-on (1 set point) SMS system (SMS1), and an evapotranspiration (ET)-based system (ETB), and watering frequency: weekly, twice per week, and daily (1, 2, and 7 days per week, respectively) plus a 10th treatment of an on-demand (2 set point) SMS system (SMS2). Both irrigation efficiency and adequacy were best for the SMS2 treatment when averaged over all three years. The SMS1 treatment provided good irrigation efficiency, but irrigation adequacy suffered, most noticeably with the twice per week treatment. The ET treatment provided good irrigation adequacy, but had the poorest irrigation efficiency. SMS treatments resulted in average water savings of 39% in SMS1 treatments and 24% in the SMS2 treatment compared to the timer-based treatments, whereas the ET treatments applied 11% more water, on average, than the timer-based treatments. The weekly SMS1 treatment applied the least amount of water (10 mm week−1), whereas the twice per week ET treatment applied the most water (26 mm week−1).