Uniformity Tests and Placement of Soil Moisture Probes

Now that our plants have emerged, we are placing a number of Sentek EasyAg 50 soil moisture probes in our field. These are connected to Sentek Solo head units, which download information to a robust aluminium Soloporter data retrieval unit. We then download information on the previous day’s soil moisture readings, recorded every 15 minutes at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 cm depth into our Irrimax software, for analysis and scheduling of irrigation to meet the requirements of the potato plants.

In order to place probes in an area representative of the field regarding moisture, we must turn on the sprinklers on the pivot and collect water in cups to ensure that minor differences in discharge rate do not result in abnormally dry or wet patches into which a probe may be randomly inserted.



Finally, we insert the probes within a plastic casing in a proven representative area of the field, connect to a waterproof head unit, and download data at regular intervals. Rather than just observing plant turgor, or feeling soil moisture in our hands once a day subjectively, we have objective measurement of moisture four times an hour, allowing us to compensate for normal daily fluctuations in moisture over every 24 hour period and to accurately schedule irrigation frequency and amount over different soil types within the field.




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