MSU Crop Irrigation Decision Support System

Introduction ...

The MSU Crop Irrigation Decision Support System (CIDSS) was developed at Michigan State University by Dr. Joe Ritchie, Brian Baer, and Dan Dunham. CIDSS predicts soil water based on both observed and predicted soil and weather data. CIDSS was designed to be simple and fast for real-world use.

Getting Started ...

To install up CIDSS, simply copy the files into a new directory and load Windows. Go to the desired folder in Windows, and choose "File:New" in the program Manager. Choose the "New Item" option, and type in (or browse for) the full pathname to the CIDSS.EXE file. A new icon called "CIDSS" should now appear in the folder. Double click on this icon to run CIDSS.

Setting up a New Management File...

To begin setting up a new field, go to "File:New". A Management Settings dialog should pop up. This is the main set up screen. The following values are requested on this screen:

Value Description
Soil Soil type
Planting Date Month, day, and year you are planting the crop
Irrigation Management Depth Depth to consider for irrigation trigger
Planting Depth Depth at which crop is planted
Soil Moisture Initial soil water percent
Trigger Amount Percent soil water which triggers a warning to irrigate
Weather Station Your location (used for default weather data calculation)

After you've entered the appropriate values, click the OK button. You should now go to the "File:Save" option to save these settings. Your field is now set up. Now whenever you want to use this field, you can use the "File:Load" option to recall it. You can change the management values you set anytime by loading the management file and going to "Management:Settings".

The Water Balance Dialog

To water balance dialog is the CIDSS does most of its work. After loading your management file (or setting up a new one), go to "Actions:Water Balance". The main list box shows you a list of days, starting with the planting date. This is where both entered and calculated weather and irrigation data is displayed. Calculated (default) days are displayed in gray. Days which have user-entered data are displayed in black. If you are using a new management file, all days in this list will initially be gray. To enter data for a specific day, highlight that day, and click the "Edit Day" button or simply double click on the day. This will call up the "Edit Daily Weather" box.

The Edit Daily Weather Box

The "Edit Daily Weather" box contains prompts for all the data which you will be required to enter on a daily basis. First choose a cloud cover selection from the choice of five in the "Daily Conditions" section. Next replace the minimum temperature and maximum temperature values. Finally, type in any rain or irrigation that occurred on that day. If you want this box to revert back to the calculated values, choose the "Default Values" button. If you made a mistake and do not want to keep the changes you made, click "Cancel". Otherwise, if you are satisfied with your changed, click the "Ok" button.

If you changed data in the Edit Daily Weather Box and clicked okay, that day should now be colored black in the Water Balance dialog. It is intended that the user of this program edit the weather on a regular basis to keep the data current. You cannot, however, edit the weather data past the current date. See the "Predicted Values" section below for information on changing future conditions.

Predicted values

After you have updated the weather and irrigation data, you must set the two prediction box on the top of the screen. The first, "Predicted Cloud Cover", asks you to select what you think the average cover is going to be for the next few days. Your choices are sunny, partly cloudy, and cloudy (depicted by icons). When you change this box, you will notice that all the calculated (grayed) days in the list box will also be updated to the appropriate cloud cover.

Next you must make a selection in the "Predicted Temperatures" box. The three options are above average, average, and below average. As you make your selection, you will see the calculated temperatures change in the list box.

If you have no idea what to choose for either of these prediction box, just leave them both on the default (middle) settings.

Running the Model

To run the model, click the "Run Model" button. The model should only take a few seconds to run. The output of the model is displayed with a colored bar graph in the "% Soil Water" column of the list. This graph shows how much water is in the soil. The colors indicate warning levels for irrigation needs. If the graph is green, the soil has sufficient water on that day. If it a yellowish color, the soil water value has fallen below the trigger value, but is still near the trigger. If it is red, the soil water is too low and it is time to irrigate.

Keeping/Discarding Changes

After editing daily weather, make sure to click the "Keep Changes" button, or all changes you made to the weather will be lost. If you made no changes, or do not want to keep any of your changes, use the "Cancel" button to exit. If changes were made and kept in the water balance dialog, you should choose the "File:Save" option. Upon exit, CIDSS will ask you if you would like to save changes if any were made.