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Chapter 5

Irrigation Scheduling


  • The material provided in this section is intended to serve as a framework for irrigation scheduling training.
  • For a pdf document that contains the introduction, objectives, and suggested outline, click here.
Suggested Objectives

Suggested Objectives

  1. Determine available water-holding capacity of the root-zone (WHC).
  2. Determine soil moisture content.
  3. Given the Management Allowed Depletion (MAD) and consumptive use rate, determine when to irrigate and how much water to apply.
  4. Perform irrigation scheduling using various methods ranging from the feel and appearance method to computer assisted programs.
Suggested Items to Consider

Suggested Items to Consider

  • Water Holding Capacity (WHC) of soils in root zone.
  • Management allowed depletion (MAD).
  • Allowable plant stress.
  • Soil Moisture Release Curves.
  • When to irrigate.
  • How much to apply.
  • Estimate crop Evapotranspiration rates (ET) - various models.
  • Irrigation scheduling methods.
  • Soil and crop monitoring.
  • Crop water use monitoring.
  • Soil moisture monitoring.
  • Checkbook method.
  • Computerized assisted methods.

Toolbox Material


Note: Note all copies of documents that were contained in the original Irrigation Training Toolbox are available electronically.

If you are unable to find a hard copy of a document in your state, you may be able to borrow a copy from the Water Management Engineer at your regional National technology Support Center



  • Video 015 “Introducing Irrigation Scheduler”, IMC, Michigan State University, MI (10:04)
  • Video 016 “Agricultural Irrigation Scheduling - The Irrometer Story”, Irrometer Company (22:19)