Cotton irrigation software saves water

Australian cotton growers are set to build on their water saving efforts by managing their irrigation water use better through a new software package called HydroLOGIC.

Developed by CSIRO Plant Industry and the Australian Cotton Cooperative Research Centre, HydroLOGIC will be released next week to help cotton growers explore different irrigation strategies for their cotton crops to optimise water use and yield.

‘Compared to other cotton producing countries Australian cotton growers are already at the forefront of water use efficiency and can build on that success with this software,’ said HydroLOGIC support scientist, Dirk Richards of CSIRO Plant Industry.

HydroLOGIC uses ‘OZCOT’, a cotton software model developed from scientific research by scientists and software developers at the CSIRO Cotton Research Unit.

‘Water consumption in cotton crops depends on irrigation techniques, soil type, crop management, rainfall and evaporation,’ said Mr Richards.

‘Growers using HydroLOGIC can make more informed decisions on the timing of irrigations, accounting for local climate and irrigation allocations – allowing them to improve water use efficiency.’

Cotton growers use HydroLOGIC during the growing season by entering information on current weather, soil moisture deficit (determined through existing soil moisture monitoring equipment), fruit load and leaf area. HydroLOGIC then uses this information with long term climate data to provide feedback on the optimum date of future irrigations.

‘HydroLOGIC can also investigate the effects of different irrigation scheduling strategies on yield – asking questions like ‘what if I delay this irrigation’ – to balance yield potential with water availability,’ said Mr Richards.

‘By making the most of available irrigation water, through using HydroLOGIC, we hope cotton growers will be able to maintain their cotton production and save water,’ he added.

For a free copy of HydroLOGIC and more information please visit <a href=’http://www.csiro.au/hydrologic’>CSIRO’s Hydrologic site</A>.

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