A tool for monitoring soil water using modelling, on-farm data, and mobile technology

Freebairn, D. M. and Ghahramani, A. and Robinson, J. B. and McClymont, D. J. (2018) A tool for monitoring soil water using modelling, on-farm data, and mobile technology. Environmental Modelling and Software, 104. pp. 55-63. ISSN 1364-8152

Abstract

Rainfall is low and unreliable in much of Australia's dryland cropping areas, requiring well-informed crop management for optimising yield and profit. Growing-season rainfall is usually supplemented by soil water during fallow periods preceding a crop. While rainfall is conveniently measured, the difficulty of measuring a soil's plant available water (PAW, mm) has led to using simulation models for estimating PAW. Here we developed a smartphone application (app) that simulates soil water balance by accessing weather, soil and crop data from databases and on-farm records. Predictions of PAW using the Howleaky modelling engine were compared with field measurements. Validation of the simulation engine across sites in Australian cropping areas showed good agreement between simulated and measured PAW. Errors in model estimates are compared with variability found within small fields. We conclude that estimating PAW for paddocks using a simulation model built in a smartphone app is a reliable and adaptable technology.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version embargoed until 1 July 2019 (12 months), in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2018 03:00
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2018 01:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: decision support; soil water; water balance; monitoring; modelling; app
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070107 Farming Systems Research
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050305 Soil Physics
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2018.03.010
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33928

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