Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI)
Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) is a tool of precision agriculture that optimizes irrigation water application.
A center pivot system is retrofitted to control irrigation application with GPS guidance by span or individual sprinkler, depending on the type of VRI system.
With VRI, the center pivot applies varying amounts of water across irrigation management zones to address variations in the field, helping farmers determine where to irrigate.
VRI enables farmers to apply customized rates of water based on individual management zones within a field.
VRI has economic, agronomic, and environmental benefits. Enhancing the precise placement and amount of irrigation through VRI can conserve water and reduce input costs. VRI improves water use efficiency by irrigating precise amounts according to soil and crop needs. Using VRI conserves water, and it may also reduce runoff and leaching of nutrients.
Experts discuss how VRI works and the potential benefits.
This digital animation provides a helpful demonstration of how VRI works.
Photographs courtesy of Matt Hanner