​​​Precision Irrigation Management: Challenges and Opportunities

February 2020 | 28 min., 39 sec.
by Michael Plumblee
Clemson University

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​Variable rate irrigation is a concept that has received more attention in recent years due to concerns with groundwater withdrawals for agricultural irrigation. Variable rate irrigation technologies have come a long way over the last two decades and have become commercially available for growers. While the technology has the capability to precisely apply water to crops, the decision making aspects of when variable rate irrigation is appropriate and how to accurately make prescriptions is still being researched. Previous research conducted on variable rate irrigation has shown promise in certain fields where as much as 25% water savings have been reported. Continued research on determining how much field variability is warranted to justify variable rate irrigation and prescription development is needed and ongoing.​

About the Presenter

Michael PlumbleeMichael Plumblee was born and raised in Lexington, SC. He grew up working around the agricultural irrigation industry, as well as, with a diversified family farm in Newberry, SC where they raised cotton, corn, soybean, wheat, Bermudagrass hay, beef cattle, and turkeys. Michael began working for Clemson University as an Assistant Professor and the Precision Agriculture Extension Specialist in May of 2018. Michael received his BS in Agricultural Mechanization and Business at Clemson in 2013, MS in Agronomy at the University of Georgia in 2015, and PhD in Agronomy at Mississippi State in 2018. His current work focuses on providing growers with recommendations and support on how to utilize new and existing precision ag. technologies in their operations. Some of his current research includes evaluating and developing soil moisture sensor thresholds in various row crops, variable rate prescription development for nitrogen and seeding, optimizing planter downforce rates, and evaluating pesticide efficacy as a function of droplet size. In his spare time, Michael enjoys spending time on a tractor, hunting, fishing, and being with his wife Allison and family.​

Contact Information:
Email: mplumbl@clemson.edu


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