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New tool helps vegetable growers with irrigation schedule

By for CAES News

University of Georgia scientists have created a new app to help Georgia vegetable growers irrigate their crops more efficiently.

Irrigating, an internet-based app, provides users with the crop’s water requirements during the growing season. It was created by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension vegetable specialist Andre da Silva in collaboration with UGA Extension vegetable specialist Tim Coolong and Assistant Professor Erick Smith, whose specialty is growing fruit.

The app combines 18 years of historical weather data with vegetable crops’ coefficients for water requirements to calculate the water demand in each stage of a crop’s development. This is also known as crop evapotranspiration.

The irrigation app includes a wide variety of vegetables, including bell pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, onion, squash, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon and zucchini.

Da Silva’s goal is to help Georgia vegetable growers provide adequate water when applying irrigation to their crops.

Improper irrigation can lead to plant stress caused by water deficiency or waterlogging, he said. Plant stress affects crop yield. Proper irrigation management also reduces nutrient leaching, which affects what farmers spend on fertilizer inputs.

“The simplicity of Irrigating makes this app a must-use tool. While outputs are accurate, the only information required from users are the vegetable crop, planting date and where the crop is being grown in Georgia,” Da Silva said.

For more information about the Irrigating app, go to irrigating.uga.edu.

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