The continuous decline in well capacities in the central US will result in “limited irrigation” being practiced on a majority of irrigated cropland. For example, cotton production is hampered on two million acres in the Texas High Plains (THP) by falling irrigation capacities, irregular rain events, and newly imposed irrigation volume limits.
Recent THP cotton research has provided alternative management strategies that reduce irrigation without substantial yield loss when faced with limited and irregular availability of water. DIEM captures these and other research results in a single integrated, web-based software solution for forecasting field-specific irrigation schedules that optimize rainfall and irrigation productivity. This is accomplished by configuring basic historic, near real-time, and future agronomic information including weather, soil and crop characteristics, and irrigation parameters into a variety of interactive data visualizations for portraying key aspects supporting irrigation decisions.
A proof-of-concept system for cotton has been developed and deployed and is undergoing preliminary pilot testing. As DIEM evolves, it will continue to be tested and evaluated by AgriLife Extension personnel and THP producers in order to determine its usefulness, accuracy, and robustness. DIEM creates a foundational basis for supporting a broader array of irrigation decisions, including management of multiple crops and in-season crop water reallocation among crops.