Challenges and opportunities in intelligent decision-making for the center pivot irrigation system in the US

Jingwen Zhang, Kaiyu Guan, Bin Peng, Chongya Jiang, Yi Yang, Ming Pan, Trenton E. Franz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Center pivot irrigation systems account for more than 50 % of irrigation systems in the US due to their ruggedness and versatility. The current center pivot irrigation management (i.e. determining when and how much water to irrigate) is mainly based on either statistically-based or process-based models, both involving multi-source data. These approaches have pros and cons. This paper mainly reviewed the existing precision irrigation research and talked about the four aspects of critical challenges and opportunities: scalability and data availability, measurement of plant water stress, model uncertainties and constraints, and producers' participation and motivation. Furthermore, some suggestions are provided to address the critical challenges, such as considering both water demand (determined by atmospheric dryness) and water supply (from root-zone soil moisture) with the mediation of plants (through stomatal functions and plant hydraulics) to indicate plant water stress, and so on. With the suggested improved techniques, precision irrigation decision-making can be scalable, economical, reliable, and practical for producers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication6th Decennial National Irrigation Symposium
PublisherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)9781713839743
StatePublished - 2020
Event6th Decennial National Irrigation Symposium 2020 - San Antonio, United States
Duration: Nov 30 2020Dec 4 2020

Publication series

Name6th Decennial National Irrigation Symposium


Conference6th Decennial National Irrigation Symposium 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio


  • Center pivot irrigation
  • Process-based
  • Real-time irrigation decision-making
  • Statistically-based
  • Water stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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