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Story in Brief

Irrigation scheduling is a technique that can be used by farmers to allow them to determine how much water is needed and when to apply it to the field in order to meet the crop demand. Both soil moisture sensors and computer models are methods of irrigation scheduling that have been shown in research to perform well, but their adoption rate is rather low compared to other methods such as visible crop stress. In 2017, the UGA Ag Water Efficiency Team (AgWet) project was implemented with two primary objectives: 1) train county Extension agents on advanced irrigation scheduling tools, and 2) have the trained agents transfer that knowledge to two growers in their county and provide the growers with scheduling tools to deploy in a center-pivot irrigated field. Since 2017, Trellis WaterMark sensors have been deployed in over 15 counties throughout south Georgia in peanut and cotton crops. They have been used in conjunction with two smartphone irrigation scheduling apps: SmartIrrigation app in cotton and the Irrigator Pro app in peanuts. Soil moisture sensor vendors operating in Georgia report a substantial uptick in system sales following the start of the AgWET project, with one vendor experiencing a 536 percent increase in sales and another seeing a 370 percent increase. Currently nearly 3,000 downloads of SmartIrrigation apps have taken place. For peanuts, a total of 4,555 acres are in the program with 42 growers and an estimated water savings of 93 cubic feet per second (CFS) flow rate as a result of using these irrigation scheduling technologies.