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Expert systems is an alternative choice for the human expert due to the difficulties encountered in finding the expert all the time and everywhere in addition to the high costs of the human expert. Computer program such as expert system is one of the best fitting methods for finding solutions for the complicated problems like the necessity of finding an expert to make proper irrigation scheduling or good operating of a surface irrigation tool such as gated pipes in order to preserve water resources without affecting the crop yield.
The study aimed to build and evaluate an expert system for managing a modified surface irrigation system for some field crops. The expert system can perform two different tasks. The first task is to make irrigation scheduling for some field crops. The second task is to provide the user with information about operating the gated pipes as one of surface irrigation modification tool.
To achieve this aim carried out the following:
1- The compilation and composition of expert system program called MSIS-ES for managing a modified surface irrigation system using gated pipelines by the language of C#.net. The proposed program has been explained and its content reference data (site information- soil characteristics- climatic data- irrigation options). As well as all the used equations and rules used in estimation of the variables of irrigation management.
2- The program’s database was designed for lengths of crop development stages for various planting periods and climatic regions, single crop coefficient (Kc) for non-stressed well managed crops in sub-humid climates, ranges of maximum effective rooting depth and soil water depletion fraction for no stress for some crops .
3- The expert system’s code an internal calculation was validated by comparing its results with the results of hand and spreadsheets calculation when using the same inputs.
4- The program has been validated by dividing its out puts into two parts; the first part is the irrigation scheduling outputs, it was validated by cultivating three field crops (grain maize – sweet maize - sorghum) at the Experimental Farm of Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams Univ., which is located at Shalakan, Kalubia governorate, Egypt per season long in order to find out its effect on crop yield and crop water productivity. Soil chemical and physical analysis, irrigation water and drainage water chemical analysis were considered .The second part was the gated pipes operating information; it was validated by applying the gates opening/expansion ratios directed from the MSIS-ES program and comparing the results with the fully opened gate situation.
The obtained results can be summarized in the following points:
• The program is achieving what it meant to do.
• A better economic decision can be taken within a short time.
• The ability to make irrigation scheduling for different field crops.
• The ability of operating the gated irrigation pipelines.
• Using the modified surface irrigation system by using the gated pipes increased the crop yield for grain maize by 19.08 %, sweet maize by 10.49% and sorghum by 11.66% as compared by farmers irrigated system. Also for crop water productivity by 20.24% for grain maize, 47.87% for sweet maize and 46.43% for sorghum.
• Database of MSIS-ES program can be expanded by adding other crops.
• This expert system will help users to follow up with more than one crop at the same time.
• The users don’t need to input all the data at every irrigation , the program has the ability to save every passed step , the user may only change measured rooting depth at every irrigation.
• All results of the equations that used in the MSIS-ES were close to those calculated manually.
from the previous result, it can be recommended that the proposed MSIS-ES program is an addition of new scientific knowledge in the application of expert systems techniques in the field of irrigation engineering and it leads to a greater efficiency in the irrigation water usage and therefor increasing crop productivity meanwhile.
The expert system can be an alternative choice for the expert person at all times and everywhere. It eliminates the problem of high prices for human experts. It is believed that computer programs known as expert systems are the best way to solve complex problems.