Acoustic Remote Sensing for Irrigation Systems Control in Agriculture
* Presenting author
The paper addresses the problem of measuring free water on the surface of agricultural soils by an accurate real-time acoustic method. The generation of free water is the result of a fine balance between the irrigation rate and the rate at which the soil can transport water away from the surface and is the primary cause of inefficient and environmentally-harmful losses during an irrigation event. The innovative component of the project is vested in the development of directional acoustic arrays and sophisticated signal processing which can remotely detect the onset of free water in the soil via changes in reflectivity. The proposed method estimates the amount of free water on the soil surface based on the changes in the amplitude of the reflected sound waves of the soil surface at different moisture levels. Our results show that sound wave reflectivity depends on the proportion of the soil surface covered by water. The presented results are based on both laboratory and field measurements, and therefore form the basis of an inexpensive and accurate free water sensor for irrigation systems.