Monitoring variability in soil moisture

We are familiar with soil moisture changing over time, and aware that there are differences between different soils and different crops. But what about variation within a crop on the same relatively similar soil?  Is any soil the same?

The MicroFarm is collaborating with Wintec Research & Development to investigate using cost effective sensor technologies to monitor soil moisture at a large number of points in a paddock.

Installing Sensor Array
Gert Hattingh from WINTEC Research & Development installing wireless sensor node at the MicroFarm

 

In our first trial on a sweetcorn crop, we established an array of sensors connected wirelessly and to the cloud. At each of nine positions, three sensors measure soil moisture at 10cm, 30cm and 50cm depth.

At three positions the sensors are running in parallel with HydroServices neutron probe measurement sites. This provides in-situ calibration and enable us to compare the moisture patterns of the new sensors against the industry “gold standard”.

View the neutron probe data here>

WINTEC has developed ways to present the data on-line and allow it to be queried. We look forward to seeing our soil moisture in near real time, viewable by soil depth at various positions across the crop. We will be focusing on improving our understanding to better manage and operate our Drumpeel Farms linear move irrigator.

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