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Development of Combined Site-Specific MESA and LEPA Methods on a Linear Move Sprinkler Irrigation System
- A site-specific controller, hardware and software systems were developed with the capability to switch between either mid-elevation spray application (MESA) or low-energy precision application (LEPA) methods. These systems were field tested and used to manage site-specific irrigations under a linear move sprinkler system and simultaneously varied water application depths by plot as the machine traveled back and forth across the field. The controller and modifications to the water application methods utilized off-the-shelf components as much as possible. The linear move system was modified so that every plot could be irrigated using either MESA or LEPA methods. A programmable logic controller (PLC)-based control system was utilized to activate grouped networks of electric over air-activated control valves. Both the depth and method of irrigation were varied depending on the location of each plot in the field as provided by a low-cost WAAS enabled GPS system mounted on the machine. When not being used, low-cost pneumatic cylinders lifted the LEPA heads above the MESA heads to avoid spray interference when the MESA mode was operating over a specified plot width and length. The control system was used on fifty-six 15- × 24.4-m (50- × 80-ft) plots as well as several other adjacent research projects in which there were a mix of crops and a prescribed set of management experiments. While this particular application was designed specifically for a large, complex agronomic research project to address artificially imposed spatial variability water management, the same controllers, valves and general software could be easily adapted to field scale commercial irrigation.
Evans, R.G. , Iversen, W.M. , Stevens, W.B. , Jabro, J.D.
product development , spraying , precision agriculture , sprinkler irrigation , new methods , equipment performance
- Includes references
- Applied engineering in agriculture 2010, v. 26, no. 5
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
- Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.