Advances in intelligent and autonomous systems to improve irrigation and fertiliser efficiency

Raine, Steven R. and McCarthy, Alison C. (2014) Advances in intelligent and autonomous systems to improve irrigation and fertiliser efficiency. In: Nutrient management for the farm, catchment and community, 18-20 Feb 2014, Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

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Abstract

Water, nutrients, energy and labour are critical determinants of on-farm productivity and profitability. The National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) has a 20 year history of working with industry to improve the efficiency and productivity of irrigated farming systems. The NCEA has developed software tools and hardware technologies to improve the measurement, evaluation, optimisation and control of these key inputs for both manually operated and automated irrigation and fertiliser application systems. The tools are applicable to both uniform and spatially variable application systems. Spatial variability in crop water and nutrient requirements can occur as a result of spatial and temporal variations in soil structure, fertility and properties; or pests and diseases.

Two irrigation and fertiliser software frameworks that have been developed at the NCEA are ‘KMSI’ and ‘VARIwise’. KMSI is a suite of online irrigation, nutrient and energy calculators and database tools which present sensed data, performance evaluations and recommendations for growers and consultants with manually operated irrigation and fertiliser application systems. Two tools in KMSI are IPART and NutriCalc, which provide performance auditing
and reporting for irrigation and nutrient applications, respectively.

VARIwise steps toward autonomous irrigation and nutrient prescription and application by linking infield sensing, data processing and control actuation. ‘VARIwise’ is a software framework that implements and simulates control strategies on fields with sub-field-scale variations in all input parameters (including nutrients). Input parameters are measured using infield soil sensors and on-the-go crop monitoring cameras. The control systems can be implemented in VARIwise either in simulation through APSIM or in field implementations using irrigation and fertiliser actuators. Variants of the framework have been developed for centre pivots, lateral moves and surface irrigation systems. This paper will provide an overview of the irrigation and nutrient management tools developed by the NCEA along with a focus on current research investigating automated nutrient and water management control strategies for irrigation systems.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Correct citation is: Raine, S.C. and McCarthy, A. C., 2014. Advances in intelligent and autonomous systems to improve irrigation and fertiliser efficiency. In: Nutrient management for the farm, catchment and community. (Eds L.D. Currie and C L. Christensen). http://flrc.massey.ac.nz/publications.html. Occasional Report No. 27. Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. 11 pages. Paper presented at 27th Annual FLRC Workshop held at Massey University, February 2014
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2014 02:24
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2017 01:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: water management; Variwise; irrigation management
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090602 Control Systems, Robotics and Automation
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079902 Fertilisers and Agrochemicals (incl. Application)
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960607 Rural Land Evaluation
B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8299 Other Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 829999 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products not elsewhere classified
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960608 Rural Water Evaluation (incl. Water Quality)
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/24973

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