Friday 3 July 2015

How to get the best out of your soil moisture sensors... Or Not!

80% of the value of soil moisture sensors are in the installation. If you don’t get this right you will never get any decent data and never be able to field calibrate them with any confidence. Remember most of the sensors that are installed are sampling very small volumes and only a few cm's from the sensor itself and require “perfect” contact with the soil and must be measuring the crop in question.  

If you are looking at installing some sensors this winter, or taking the time to do a maintenance check on those already installed this may be well worth a read. Rather than a dissertation on how to and why, how about a few don’t do this or this!!

Don't #1
  • Don't leave the excess cables on the ground - Isn't this an accident waiting to happen?
  • What about the crack where the sensors are located?
  • And there isn't much growing over the sensors!

Don't #2
  • The sensor needs to be in the soil!
  • And it needs to have crop growing over it!

Don't #3
  • Again, all cables should be protected and not left exposed.
  • Crop would be nice!

So if you have soil moisture sensors installed, take a look at the location and the condition of the site.  If you have any misgivings about the location or condition of the site, get it sorted in the winter because now is the time so they are ready for the spring.

The nuggets of knowledge in today's blog are courtesy of Dr Anthony Davoren from HydroServices Ltd.