Lead Researchers: Jose Chávez, Daran Rudnick,
Juan Enciso, Florence Cassel
Contact: José Chávez
Industry Partner: Lindsay Corporation 

The main objective of this study was to assess the accuracy of using UASs and satellites (multispectral imagery) to determine crop actual water use and soil water deficit. This study was conducted at two research facilities in Colorado, one research station in NE, at a commercial orchard and in Weslaco, TX, one research site in Garden City, KS; and at commercial farms in Fresno, CA. Remote sensing (RS) imagery (0.05 – 5 m pixel size) was acquired over research fields to determine crop evapotranspiration (ET) and soil water deficits on a daily basis. Eddy covariance and soil water sensors/probes were used to assess remote sensing platform and crop ET model (e.g., reflectance crop coefficient, energy balance) weekly, monthly, and seasonal accuracy.

Project Background: Reduced water supply due to drought, urban growth, and industry demand has increased the need for efficient water management. Satellite and UAS platforms equipped with advanced multispectral sensors offer very high spatial and temporal resolution that can be used to support farmers in making effective irrigation management decisions.