Real-time irrigation scheduling of maize using Degrees Above Non-Stressed (DANS) index in semi-arid environment

Hope Njuki Nakabuye, Daran Rudnick, Kendall C. DeJonge, Tsz Him Lo, Derek Heeren, Xin Qiao, Trenton E. Franz, Abia Katimbo, Jiaming Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Irrigation scheduling methods have been used to determine the timing and amount of water applied to crops. Scheduling techniques can include measurement of soil water content, quantification of crop water use, and monitoring of crop physiological response to water stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of a simplified crop canopy temperature measurement (CTM) method as Irrigation Principles. Soil and Water Conservation Engineera technique to schedule irrigation for maize. Specifically, the Degrees Above Non-Stressed (DANS) index, which suggests water stress when canopy temperature exceeds the non-stressed canopy temperature (Tcns), was determined by estimating Tcns from a weather based multilinear regression model. The modeled Tcns had a strong correlation with observed Tcns with a pooled R2 values of 0.94 across the 2018, 2019, and 2020 growing seasons. This DANS index was also highly correlated with the conventionally used Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI) with R2 values of 0.67, 0.59, and 0.76 in 2018, 2019, and 2020, respectively. Furthermore, DANS had a strong linear relationship with soil water depletion above 60% in the 0.60 m soil profile with an R2 of 0.78. The CTM method was also compared to more commonly used scheduling methods namely: soil moisture monitoring (SMM) and crop evapotranspiration modeling (ETM). Grain yield was significantly lower for the CTM method than for the ETM method in 2018 and 2020 but not in 2019. No significant differences were observed in Irrigation Water Productivity (IWP) in 2018; however, all treatments were significantly different with the CTM method having the greatest IWP in 2020. For attempting to trigger full irrigation with the CTM method, a fixed DANS threshold of 0.5 °C was found to be more appropriate than the literature value of 1.0 °C, but consideration of crop growth stage would further improve scheduling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107957
JournalAgricultural Water Management
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • Canopy temperature
  • Crop water stress index
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Irrigation water productivity
  • Soil water content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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