Using NASA data for sustainable irrigation planning of high value specialty crops

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 2:00 PM
226C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Vanessa M. Escobar, NASA/GSFC/Sigma Space Corporation, Greenbelt, MD; and M. E. Brown, W. P. Kustas, M. C. Anderson, and K. McDonald

Effective drought mitigation requires the ability to measure water use and crop condition over large areas, also requires detail at individual field scales to support water and crop management decisions. In viticulture, key water management decisions focus on the timing of the start of irrigation in the spring, followed by managing the repeat cycle and quantity of water applied during the remainder of the growing season. These critical decisions are often complicated not only by weather and climate variability but also by within-field variations in soil texture, elevation/terrain, and soil fertility. Additional complexity is added to the politically based local, state, and government-issue of imposed mandatory water reductions. Grape productivity and fruit quality are highly sensitive to vine water status, particularly in regions where a Mediterranean climate dominates. Conditions optimizing wine vintage quality are often associated with maintaining some degree of water stress in the plant. It is therefore critical to know when to begin irrigation for the growing season, how often to irrigate, and how much water to apply. The California Farm Water Coalition recently announced that deliveries of irrigation water, expected to be reduced in 2014 by more than 50 percent, leaving 2 million acres in the San Joaquin Valley without water. Therefore these decisions on irrigation are not only crucial for vineyard performance, but also for the effective and long-term management of water resources of all high value specialty agriculture crops. This project will integrate the use of satellite and airborne data for specialty crop irrigation into water resource management policy, and support decision-making to quantify the value of remotely sensed surface soil moisture and ET information used for viticulture applications. This is an ongoing study to integrate data products from NASA's Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) as well as future mission such as NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission, to develop satellite based tools to (1) improve irrigation scheduling applications and (2) impact water management practices at the field scale for viticulture. We demonstrate the value and efficacy of joining remote sensing science and field scaled operational decision-making structures by working directly with the growers at the inception of the project. The successful integration of science and stakeholder feedback will improve the operational practices and knowledge that are critical for sustaining high value agricultural products.