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Title: Design and implementation of an efficient solar powered irrigation management system for drip irrigated maize field
Author: Mafuta, Million Trocco
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 8345
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2014
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Purpose - The thesis investigates effects of automatic variation of the deficit irrigation level with the growth stage of drip irrigated maize on grain yield and crop Water Use Efficiency (WUE). It further examines the impact of water-efficient irrigation controllers on the solar Photovoltaic energy level requirements for water pumping systems. Methodology - A Wireless Sensor and Actuator Network was deployed to monitor field conditions and actuate irrigation valves according to whether the level of moisture was within the set points. A Control Treatment (CT) field was fully irrigated using constant moisture threshold levels, while an Experimental Treatment (ExT) field had the highest level of deficit irrigation at the early and later growth stages. Full irrigation was applied at the middle growth stage. Irrigation depths and grain yields were measured, while WUE and the solar energy required by the water pumping system were calculated. Findings - The findings show that 880 mm and 560 mm of water were applied to CT and ExT fields, respectively. This represents a 36% water saving and a corresponding water pumping energy saving of 36% in the ExT field. The grain yields were 0.752 kg/m2 and 0.812 kg/m2 for CT and ExT fields, respectively. This shows that, despite applying a lower amount of water, the ExT improved the grain yield by 7.4%. Furthermore, the results show an increase in WUE from 0.86 kg/m3 for the CT field to 1.45 kg/m3 for the ExT field, representing a 69% improvement. Research limitations/implications - This study focused on the maize production under Malawi's weather conditions. However, the concept would easily be replicated in other crops and in other parts of the world with two modifications: firstly, sensor calibration must be done on-site; and secondly, the specific crop coefficient pattern must be used to develop the irrigation scheduling strategy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available