Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Published in Irrigation Science 25 (2006), pp. 21–32; doi: 10.1007/s00271-006-0031-2 Copyright © 2006 Springer-Verlag. Used by permission.


Upper and lower crop water stress index (CWSI) baselines adaptable to different environments and times of day are needed to facilitate irrigation scheduling with infrared thermometers. The objective of this study was to develop dynamic upper and lower CWSI baselines for corn and soybean. Ten-minute averages of canopy temperatures from corn and soybean plots at four levels of soil water depletion were measured at North Platte, Nebraska, during the 2004 growing season. Other variables such as solar radiation (Rs), air temperature (Ta), relative humidity (RH), wind speed (u), and plant canopy height (h) were also measured. Daily soil water depletions from the research plots were estimated using a soil water balance approach with a computer model that used soil, crop, weather, and irrigation data as input. Using this information, empirical equations to estimate the upper and lower CWSI baselines were developed for both crops. The lower baselines for both crops were functions of h, vapor pressure deficit (VPD), Rs, and u. The upper baselines did not depend on VPD, but were a function of Rs and u for soybean, and Rs, h, and u for corn. By taking into account all the variables that significantly affected the baselines, it should be possible to apply them at different locations and times of day. The new baselines developed in this study should facilitate the application of the CWSI method as a practical tool for irrigation scheduling of corn and soybean.