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Interested in fine-tuning your irrigation decisions? Try the free online Irrigation Management Assistant (IMA) tool

Irrigation Management Assistant tool Minnesota water scheduling

By: Vasudha Sharma, Extension irrigation specialist & Bryan Runck, Senior research scientist, GEMS Informatics Center

The Irrigation Management Assistant (IMA) tool utilizes soil, weather, crop type, and user input data to provide an automated daily recommendation for efficient irrigation scheduling. After rolling out the free online tool to growers in several Minnesota counties last year, the tool is now available to growers interested in efficiently managing their irrigation statewide.

The tool is available at

Register using an email and password and follow the quick start guide to get started.

About the Irrigation Management Assistant tool

Initially, a private company, RESPEC, worked with the Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to develop the original version of the IMA tool for the Little Rock Creek areas of Benton and Morrison counties. The Benton SWCD received the original 2016 grant for their vision of an automated irrigation scheduler for Minnesota growers from the Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF). Benton SWCD worked with local producers to implement this computerized irrigation software. Subsequently, the East Otter Tail SWCD was chosen to demonstrate technology transfer as part of the original project, showing it can be implemented in other parts of Minnesota.

Eventually, the IMA tool was expanded to Becker, Hubbard, Otter Tail, Todd, and Wadena counties, supported by East Otter Tail SWCD, Dakota County (with support from Dakota County SWCD), and Pope and Sherburne Counties with support from the University of Minnesota Extension.

Now, with additional funding from ENRTF, we have expanded the IMA tool to all of Minnesota. The U of M is working with RESPEC to bring enhanced data to the tool, including soil data and statewide weather data for the 2023 growing season. Ongoing research on irrigation scheduling by the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and U of M Extension will be incorporated into the tool in subsequent seasons to further improve its recommendations. The IMA tool uses weather and soil data provided by GEMS Informatics. GEMS Informatics is jointly led by CFANS and Research Computing, the administrative organization that oversees the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, the U of M’s Informatics Institute, and U-Spatial.

For detailed information on irrigation management strategies and irrigation scheduling methods, visit the UMN Extension irrigation web page


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