Wednesday 13 – Friday 15 June 2018 | International Convention Centre, Sydney

Dr Des Whitfield

Senior Research Scientist, DEDJTR, Vic.

Dr Des Whitfield

Senior Research Scientist, DEDJTR, Vic.

Dr Des Whitfield trained in crop science/modelling at la Trobe University, Melbourne, in the 1970’s. He has worked as a crop scientist with the Department of Agriculture, Victoria,  and its successors for 40 years, undertaking projects that ranged from the hydrology of dryland cropping systems and investigations of the water dynamics and carbon balance of irrigated wheat and sunflower crops, to irrigated agroforestry.  He is responsible for > 30 refereed scientific publications, and has successfully co-supervised doctoral studies of tree crop water use of two scientists in his organisation.

From 2003, he promoted and undertook leadership of a multidisciplinary team that successfully combined satellite data with land use and weather data to provide affordable near real-time measures of crop water demand at field to regional scales.  Project methods developed over a series of studies are now able to provide irrigators with crop- and field-customised data that support the affordable application

Where: International Convention Centre, Sydney – Room E5.10

When: Day 3 – Friday, 15 June 2018

Abstract Outline: Perennial tree and vine (PTV) crops are widely grown in the southern Murray-Darling Basin (sMDB) in Australia. Crop coefficients (Kc) applicable to these crops are severely lacking at a time when irrigators and planners are experiencing severe competition for water and high water prices. This study sought to investigate satellite-based relationships between evapotranspiration (ET) and the widely-used vegetation index, NDVI, in PTV crops and their potential basis as a source of Kc values. Rates of ET, including almonds, grapes and citrus grown in the Riverland and Sunraysia irrigation districts of South Australia and Victoria, respectively, and for pears, apples, peaches and apricots grown in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (Vic), were normalised by at-surface measures of tall crop reference evapotranspiration (ETrF=ET/ETr).
Results showed that ET-NDVI relationships in PTV crops were overwhelmingly consistent with limits on ETrF and NDVI described by Tasumi et al (2007), and, further, that ETrF invariably showed a strong, positive linear dependence on NDVI. Comparisons revealed that relationships for almond differed from other PTV crops, and that early-season relationships in Sunraysia grape and citrus crops differed from the remaining PTV crops. Results are discussed in relation to alternative Kc approaches that may be used at field and district scales in sMDB.

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