Padhi, J. and Misra, R. K. and Payero, J. O. (2012) Estimation of soil water deficit in an irrigated cotton field with infrared thermography. Field Crops Research, 126 (1). pp. 45-55. ISSN 0378-4290
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Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2011.09.015
Plant growth and soil water deficit can vary spatially and temporally in crop fields due to variation in soil properties and/or irrigation and crop management factors. We conducted field experiments with cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) over two seasons during 2007-2009 to test if infrared thermography can distinguish systematic variation in deficit irrigation applied to various parts of the field over time. Soil water content was measured with a neutron probe and thermal images of crop plants were taken with a thermal infrared camera. Leaf water potential and stomatal conductance were also measured on selected occasions. All measurements were made at fixed locations within three replicate plots of an irrigation experiment consisting of four soil-water deficit treatments. Canopy temperature related as well with soil water within the root zone of cotton as the stomatal conductance index derived from canopy temperature, but it neglected the effect of local and seasonal variation in environmental conditions. Similarities in the pattern of spatial variation in canopy temperature and soil water over the experimental field indicates that thermography can be used with stomatal conductance index to assess soil water deficit in cotton fields for scheduling of irrigation and to apply water in areas within the field where it is most needed to reduce water deficit stress to the crop. Further confidence with application of infrared thermography can be gained by testing our measurement approach and analysis with irrigation scheduling of other crops.
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