Pilot operation and evaluation of a meteorological data fed water budget system for turfgrass
For Mediterranean countries, irrigation is by far the major water consumer. In this framework, the development of operational tools that are able to generate recommendations aiming to improved irrigation management is of great importance. Such a system is IRMA_SYS (the system hereafter) that covers the plain of Arta in Greece. Data from 6 agro-meteorological stations are used by the system to apply spatial interpolation techniques and produce maps of all the basic agrometeorological variables plus evapotranspiration and rain. Among other crops, the system's performance was tested on turfgrass during the irrigation season of 2015. In the present study, a treatment where irrigation frequency was based on the integral of solar energy at the site, as provided by the system (IRS), was compared to a reference one (REF) where irrigation was managed by a controller that used water budget periods and which was equipped with a rain sensor. The latest is considered best practice for Greece. Irrigation water volume, soil moisture, vegetation growth (mass of cuttings) and canopy reflectance were monitored. Canopy reflectance provided data to calculate NDVI and PRI, which were used as quality indicators. Results revealed similar water consumption, while no statistically significant differences were found in turf growth or quality among treatments. These results are promising as they document the application potentials of a system that does not use sensors installed on site and yet can automatically compensate for the effects of weather changes on crop water needs.
Tsirogiannis, I.L., Malamos, N., Christofides, A., Anastasiadis, S., Koliopanos, C., Fotia, K. and Baltzoi, P. (2018). Pilot operation and evaluation of a meteorological data fed water budget system for turfgrass. Acta Hortic. 1197, 195-202
irrigation scheduling, NDVI, PRI, open source software