Advance rate measurement for furrow irrigation

McCarthy, Cheryl ORCID: (2004) Advance rate measurement for furrow irrigation. [USQ Project]


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Furrow irrigation is used for 96% of the irrigated cotton crop area in Australia. The
performance of furrow irrigation can be improved by measuring furrow irrigation advance
rate, from which optimised values for irrigation parameters can be determined
and implemented in subsequent irrigations. Most water detection methods for advance
rate measurement use water sensors that are located in the furrow, and which must be
tediously collected from the furrow after the irrigation takes place. Design of an alternate
system for advance rate measurement has emphasised convenient, immediate
recovery of advance data.

Machine vision was investigated as an approach for measuring advance rate for furrow
irrigation. A high resolution digital camera at a fixed location at the end of the field
monitors changes in field appearance during an irrigation. In the absence of a crop
canopy, an unobstructed view of the advancing water front can be obtained from the
end of the field. For more mature crops, under certain conditions, change in crop
canopy appearance during an irrigation also travels visibly down the field.

The digital camera has been interfaced with a laptop so that images can be captured,
downloaded and analysed during the irrigation. Field trials indicate that a single camera
can detect objects for distances up to 500 metres with an accuracy of + or - 5 metres,
by use of optical zoom and by increasing the height of the camera. Experiments reveal
significant tonal response of dry crop plants to water within twenty minutes of application
of water. The image analysis involves two separate approaches for the bare soil
and closed canopy conditions.

Temperature sensing of soil and crop canopy temperature was considered in conjunction
with the digital camera advance front detection, however due to budgetary constraints
thermal response of the field could not be investigated for this project.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:11
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 04:07
Uncontrolled Keywords: furrow irrigation, advance rate measurement, digital camera advance front detection
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099901 Agricultural Engineering
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4099 Other engineering > 409901 Agricultural engineering
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300201 Agricultural hydrology

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