Water where it counts
Dr Ahmad Khalilian: There is a tremendous amount of variation in our soil types and the production field. We have sandy areas, clay areas; some parts produce better than the others. So we have different sizes of crops with different water requirements and water holding capacities. The regular, conventional irrigation system applies a uniform rate, or blanket-type irrigation everywhere. Some places we put more water, and some less than needed. Because of that, we have developed a system called Variable Rate Irrigation System, which applies the water based on the need of the crops. A commercial version of the system; about forty-two units; is installed on growers' center-pivot irrigation in Georgia and South Carolina, and some of our farmers are using it. By doing that, not only are they saving water and energy, they are increasing their crop yield and profit.