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On the heels of the hottest, driest fall in Alabama’s history, Auburn researchers are working to find ways to improve water-use efficiency for farmers.

Growers throughout the U.S. are finding themselves in the middle of a national water crisis, with agriculture constituting approximately 80 percent of consumptive water use, largely in the form of irrigation. At the same time, drought has been increasing in intensity and frequency.

“Agricultural production increasingly requires water inputs to sustain high crop productivity in a changing climate,” says Di Tian, assistant professor in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Crops, Soil and Environmental Sciences and the lead researcher in a $500,000 three-year interdisciplinary project funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The aim of the project, Tian said, is to build a fundamental framework of climate smart analytics, or CSA, for irrigation management. This CSA framework is driven by state-of-the-art, open-source numerical weather predictions, satellite earth observations, crop simulation models, digital soil database and artificial intelligence techniques.

Read more online.