Since we have been learning more about water this past week in our class I was able to find an article that is related.
The article, “Canopy Cover Provides Practical Clue To Plants’ Thirst” (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090131122804.htm), starts off recognizing the amount of shade that plants produce. The term used to talk about the amount of space that a plant shades is called canopy cover. Soil Scientists are trying to determine how much water that will be needed for a plant to grow successfully. While it all seems complicated to me, it appears that they are trying to calculate via canopy cover how much water a plant uses. The benefits of knowing how much water a plant needs include water conservation. If the plant requires less water, then that water will not be wasted. When plants undergo too much irrigation fertilizers and other pollutants can leach into groundwater.
The idea is that farmer’s would be able to view a satellite image of their fields on a computer. This computer would analyze the field, and a special calculation would take into account the different weather changes to find what the proper amount of irrigation to a field would be. The example that the article uses is bell peppers:
“The calculation could indicate…that bell pepper plants in a field that has a canopy cover of 40 percent may have used one inch of water in one week, the amount the grower may choose to replenish at the next irrigation.”
Many different scientists, including those of the soil variety are trying to think of the future possibilities of calculating the amount of water that each plant will need. This will lead to saving water and accurately quenching a plants thirst.
I think that this is a great way to move forward in agriculture. If we can not only conserve water, but reduce the amount of pollutants entering our groundwater then we will be able to make a big difference in water conservation as a whole. Personally I do not fully understand how scientists are able to calculate the amount of water a plant is using based on their canopy cover. Though, if it can be done it will be a great step forward in agriculture and soil science.