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A remote irrigation monitoring and control system (RIMCS) for continuous move systems. Part B: field testing and results

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Precision irrigation systems can have inherent errors that affect the accuracy of variable water application rates controllers, as well as affect the controllers’ performance when evaluated on different continuous move irrigation systems configurations. The objective of this study was to assess the performance of a remote irrigation monitoring and control system (RIMCS) installed on two separate linear move (LM) irrigation systems. The RIMCS varies water application rates by pulsing nozzles controlled by solenoids connected via relays to a single board computer (SBC) with wireless Ethernet connection to a remote server. The system also monitors irrigation system flow, pressure, position and wireless field sensor networks. The system was installed on a LM irrigation system in Prosser, Washington, USA and on a LM in the Nesson Valley of North Dakota, USA. For the LM at Prosser, four pre-defined irrigation patterns were imposed and variable rates were applied as a percentage of the nozzle base application rate. Each nozzle was pulsed across the span length and along the LM travel direction. For the LM at the Nesson Valley, a quadratic pattern was imposed pulsing banks of nozzles along the LM travel direction. Standard catch can tests were performed and the system performance was evaluated by comparing measured catch can water depths with pre-determined target values. The RIMCS accuracy was found to be in the range of the LM uniform water depth application uniformity coefficients of 88–96%. The RIMCS was successfully transferred to another LM in North Dakota as indicated by the relatively low variable rate application errors of –8.8 ± 8.1% and −0.14 ± 6.7% for the two spans.

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This research was possible thanks to funding received from the USDA-ARS-NPARL and the WSU Center for Precision Agricultural Systems (CPAS) through a cooperative agreement. The authors also extend their gratitude to the following individuals who contributed to this project: Dr. Hal Collins, Eileen Perry, Lynne Hartz, John Wilson, John Ferguson, Jason Andrews, and Bruno Guerra. Furthermore, the authors appreciate the comments and suggestions of anonymous reviewers who helped improve the quality of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to José L. Chávez.

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Chávez, J.L., Pierce, F.J., Elliott, T.V. et al. A remote irrigation monitoring and control system (RIMCS) for continuous move systems. Part B: field testing and results. Precision Agric 11, 11–26 (2010).

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