Part 652Irrigation Guide
Water RequirementsChapter 4
4–2(210-vi-NEH, September 1997)
Although any crop can be used as the reference crop,clipped grass is the reference crop of choice. Someearlier reference crop research, mainly in the West,used 2-year-old alfalfa (ET
). With grass reference crop(ET
) known, ET estimates for any crop at any stageof growth can be calculated by multiplying ET
by theappropriate crop growth stage coefficient (k
, usuallydisplayed as a curve or table. The resulting value iscalled crop evapotranspiration (ET
). The followingmethods and equations used to estimate referencecrop evapotranspiration, ET
, are described in detail inPart 623, Chapter 2, Irrigation Water Requirements(1990). The reference crop used is clipped grass. Cropcoefficients are based on local or regional growthcharacteristics. The following methods are recom-mended by the Natural Resources Conservation Ser-vice (NRCS).
•FAO Modified Blaney-Criddle (FAO Paper 24)•Modified Blaney-Criddle (SCS Technical Re-lease No. 21). This method is being maintainedfor historical and in some cases legal signifi-cance. See appendix A, NEH, Part 623, Chapter2, Irrigation Water Requirements.
•FAO Radiation method (FAO Paper 24)
(4)Evaporation pan method
The FAO Modified Blaney-Criddle, Penman-Monteith,and FAO Radiation equations represent the mostaccurate equations for these specific methods. Theyare most accurately transferable over a wide range of climate conditions. These methods and equations arealso widely accepted in the irrigation profession today(ASCE 1990). The intended use, reliability, and availability of localclimatic data may be the deciding factor as to whichequation or method is used. For irrigation schedulingon a daily basis, an
method, such as the Pen-man-Monteith equation, is probably the most accuratemethod available today, but complete and reliablelocal real time climatic data must be available. Forirrigation scheduling information on a 10+ day averagebasis, use of a
method, such as FAO Radia-tion, or use of a local evaporation pan, may be quitesatisfactory.For estimation of monthly and seasonal crop waterneeds, a
based method generally provesto be quite satisfactory. The FAO Modified Blaney-Criddle equation uses long-term mean temperaturedata with input of estimates
of relative humidity, windmovement, and sunlight duration. This method alsoincludes an adjustment for elevation. The FAO Radia-tion method uses locally measured solar radiation andair temperature.