Developing an intelligent overhead irrigation system for high quality horticultural field crops


The potential economic benefits from precision irrigation for supplemental irrigation on field-scale crops in a humid climate such as England appear modest.  The benefit to the grower in the reduced cost of water and energy is estimated to be typically less than £25/ha that is over-irrigated.  Clearly the development and uptake of PI would need to be justified more in terms of the wider benefits to crop quality and the reduced environmental impacts associated with irrigation (reduced drainage and higher nitrogen efficiency).

Project code:
FV 363
01 March 2010 - 30 June 2014
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:
Dr Jerry Knox, Cranfield University


FV 363 Annual Report 2012 FV 363 Final Report 2014

About this project

Aims and Objectives:

To develop precision irrigation technologies to reduce water and energy consumption and improve post-harvest quality of high value horticultural crops.

  • To design, develop and test a real time wireless sensor system for monitoring the spatial distribution of soil water status in field-scale vegetable production;
  • To evaluate crop sensing technology for estimating soil water and plant water status in field-scale vegetable production;
  • To engineer and test a control system for variable irrigation water application, and;
  • To combine the new technologies into an intelligent irrigation management system, and evaluate its’ potential to improve water efficiency and crop quality.