Using Web-based Software for Irrigation and Nitrogen Management in Onion Production: our Research Plan for 2013

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1 Using Web-based Software for Irrigation and Nitrogen Management in Onion Production: our Research Plan for 2013 Andre Biscaro, Farm Advisor UCCE Los Angeles County Michael Cahn, Farm Advisor UCCE Monterey County

2 Presentation Outline How CropManage works Water and N recommendation Using CropManage Monitoring SWT Research plan for 2013

3 Integrate information from multiple sources Soil and Ranch Crop ET model Watering Recommendation CIMIS ETo Soil nitrate test Database driven web application Field sensors Crop N model Record display and data export N fertilizer Recommendation

4 Why adapt CropManage to onions production? Management of N and water is a big part of onion crops success Brilliant idea integrates the most pertinent info in a simple way; accessibility Growers and managers can spend more time making use of the data than creating the data

5 Onions require frequent irrigation Shallow root system Stimulation of new root growth High sensitivity to mild water stress

6 Irrigation Scheduling Correct frequency and duration of watering When to irrigate How much to irrigate

7 Soil and Ranch Crop ET model Watering Recommendation CIMIS ETo Soil nitrate test Database driven web application Field sensors Crop N model N fertilizer Recommendation

8 Evapotranspiration (ET)

9 CIMIS reference ET ETo

10 Soil and Ranch Crop ET model Watering Recommendation CIMIS ETo Soil nitrate test Database driven web application Field sensors Crop N model N fertilizer Recommendation

11 ETo and ETc

12 ET crop = ET o K c K c can vary from 0.1 to 1.2 7% canopy 18% canopy 100 Observed Canopy Cover (%) Canopy obs = 1.01 x Canopy pred R 2 = Predicted Canopy Cover (%)

13 Percentage of Season CROP COEFFICIENT (K c ) Initial Rapid Midseason Late-season A B C D GROWTH DATE E

14 Soil and Ranch Crop ET model Watering Recommendation CIMIS ETo Soil nitrate test Database driven web application Field sensors Crop N model N fertilizer Recommendation

15 Know the root depth + soil type = storage volume

16 Why its not easy to create an accurate irrigation schedule? Root depth Crop canopy Weather Soil moisture

17 Water recommendation Allowable depletion Irrigation system application rate Irrigation system application uniformity Leaching fraction (water salinity) And more

18 Soil and Ranch Crop ET model Watering Recommendation CIMIS ETo Soil nitrate test Database driven web application Field sensors Crop N model N fertilizer Recommendation

19 How is N fertilizer rate determined? Fertilizer N = Crop N uptake Soil N Soil N: Quick Test N (ppm NO 3 -N) Soil mineralization N Plant residue N

20 Tools for Managing Water and Nitrogen Fertilizer in Lettuce Quick nitrate soil test (20 ppm NO 3 -N = 70 to 80 lbs of N/acre/ft) Weather-based irrigation scheduling

21 Commercial Lettuce Nitrogen Fertilizer Trials 300 Standard BMP lbs N/A Std: 212 lbs N/Acre BMP: 146 lbs N/Acre Difference 66 lbs/a Ave Field 30% reduction in N fertilizer (Cahn and Smith, 2011)

22 Water applied vs. ET Cumulative Applied Water + Rain (inches) Crop ET Applied Water Days after Transplanting Cumulative Crop ET (inches)

23 (Cahn and Smith, 2011) Commercial Yield % of Grower Boxes/Acre GR BMP Avg Field

24 Web-based Irrigation and N management software for lettuce ucanr.org/cropmanage

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28 Info for creating a ranch and field: Location, soil type, crop, acreage, planting and harvesting dates, previous crop, previous harvest date, sprinkler application (in/h), sprinkler distribution uniformity (%), drip application rate (in/h), drip distribution uniformity (%), leaching factor, maximum crop N uptake, default days to next fertilization, flow meter data, coordinates;

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36 Soil Water Tension Data Watermark sensors 2 onion fields in Lancaster 4 irrigation sections per field 2 depths (8 and 18 inches) Drip irrigated Mostly loamy sand and sand loam

37 Sensors Watermarks Dielectric Tensiometers

38 a few questions if you don t mind: How many of you are growers or PCA s? How many of you have used soil moisture sensors for irrigation management before? What about ET data from CIMIS?

39 Minn Sensor 4 - Sandy loam 8w 18w 8c 18c 8e 18e Dry Cbar Wet Jun 25-Jun 30-Jun 5-Jul 10-Jul 15-Jul 20-Jul 25-Jul 30-Jul 4-Aug % time dry 8W 8c 8e

40 Minn Sensor 1 - Loamy sand 8w 18w 8c 18c 8e 18e 50 Dry Cbar Wet Jun 20-Jun 25-Jun 30-Jun 5-Jul 10-Jul 15-Jul 20-Jul 25-Jul 30-Jul 4-Aug 9-Aug % time dry 8w 8c 8e

41 Minn sensor 2 8w 18w 8c 18c 8e 18e Dry Cbar Wet 0 20-Jun 25-Jun 30-Jun 5-Jul 10-Jul 15-Jul 20-Jul 25-Jul 30-Jul 4-Aug % time dry 8w 8c 8e

42 Be Aware of Soil Spatial Variability

43 Conclusions from Scott and Shasta Valleys Study Summary of 85 alfalfa fields (Orloff, 1999 and 2000) Over 20 (23%) Under 28 (33%) Over &Under 22 (26%) Ok 15 (17%) 83% could be improved!

44 Research Plan for 2013 Monitor 3 onion fields devising algorithms for CropManage Weekly measurements: Infra-red photos of canopy cover Kc Rooting depth Biomass samples and total N analysis - N uptake curve Soil moisture release, bulk density Also: Use CIMIS data and quick nitrate test Soil water tension Soil EC and texture maps Yield

45 CropManage can assist onion growers in improving management of nitrogen fertilizer and water Summary Monitoring SWT and using CIMIS data are important irrigation scheduling tools for shallow rooted vegetables like onions Managing irrigation can be deceiving Water and N recommendation calculations can be complicated and time consuming

46 Potential IPM Related Benefits? - Reduce plant water stress - Keep pesticides in the root zone

47 Thank you note: - Calandri Sonrise Farms - Garlic and Onion Board - Mike Cahn, UCCE Farm Advisor Questions?

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