Dr. Jiang Hu Awarded Texas A&M AgriLife Research 2019 Director’s Award

Dr. Jiang Hu received the Texas A&M AgriLife Research 2019 Director’s Award for contribution to the research project on IoT-based intelligent irrigation. This is research in collaboration with AgriLife researchers Dr. Dana Porter and Dr. Thomas Marek.

Agriculture irrigation accounts for the use of two-thirds of the world-wide fresh water resources which is increasingly experiencing shortage due to human population growth and climate change. Technological advances have created numerous bells and whistles that can potentially improve water-use efficiency. However, there lacks a complete solution that makes use of all leverages and provides growers with peace of mind. Jiang Hu and CESG students, Justin Sun, Yanxiang Yang and Hongxin Kong, collaborate with the AgriLife research team to develop a complete solution for intelligent and automatic variable rate irrigation. It integrates spatial data from soil moisture sensors, past water applications and weather forecasts. At the same time, the system must be tolerant of faults and breakdowns. The centerpiece and brain of the system is an intelligent control algorithm. It estimates the amount of water needed for each location according to current soil moisture level and considers the probability of near future precipitation and evapotranspiration. The algorithm uses a machine learning procedure that is sensitive to crop and soil types. The proposed system can simultaneously improve crop yield and reduce water use. A prototyping system has been built in the AgriLife experiment field near Amarillo, Texas and three patents derived from the research have been filed.