Integration of cosmic-ray neutron probes into production agriculture: Lessons from the Platte River cosmic-ray neutron probe monitoring network

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
William Alexander Avery, Catherine Emily Finkenbiner, Trenton E Franz, Anthony L Nguy-Robertson, Francisco Munoz-Arriola, Andrew Suyker and Timothy J Arkebauer, University of Nebraska Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States
Projected increases in global population will put enormous pressure on fresh water resources in the coming decades. Approximately 70 percent of human water use is allocated to agriculture with 40 percent of global food production originating from irrigated lands. Growing demand for food will only worsen the strain placed on many irrigated agricultural systems resulting in an unsustainable reliance on groundwater. This work presents an overview of the Platte River Cosmic-ray Neutron Probe Monitoring Network, which consists of 10 fixed probes and 3 mobile probes located across the Platte River Basin. The network was installed in 2014 and is part of the larger US COSMOS (70+ probes) and global COSMOS networks (200+ probes). Here we will present an overview of the network, comparison of fixed neutron probe results across the basin, spatial mapping results of the mobile sensors at various sites and spatial scales, and lessons learned by working with various producers and water stakeholder groups. With the continued development of this technique, its incorporation for soil moisture management in large producer operations has the potential to increase irrigation water use efficiency in the Platte River Basin and beyond.