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Simple Tips To Make the Best of Your Soil Moisture Sensor

Updated: Mar 27

There is a long list of things to do and not to when it comes to soil moisture sensors. In this short article, I'm just going to mention just a few tips that work with majority of soil moisture sensors.


It does not matter what type or brand of soil moisture sensor you're using, if you're not using it correctly.


Here's my advice, after years of industry and academic work in the field of irrigation water management, to those who have an interest in using soil moisture sensors for irrigation scheduling:


Figure 1. APAS T1 soil moisture and temperature sensor.


1) Carry out measurements every time at the same time of day (e.g. 8:00 am in the morning). This helps overcome temperature sensitivity of [all] commercial sensors.


2) Look at the trend of soil moisture data rather than individual numbers (graph measurements). This way you can use uncalibrated sensors.


3) See how sensor readings correlate with your observations of crop health/yield. This helps establish irrigation dry/wet thresholds.


4) Don't take your readings as God-sent. Be mindful of crop variability, soil variability, and soil moisture sensor measurement errors.


5) Make sure to have some sensors in critical points in your field. These are usually top of hills (run out of water faster), and spots with sandy soil (small bucket / low water holding capacity).



References

Peters, TR. Practical Use of Soil Moisture Sensors for Irrigation Scheduling. irrigation.wsu.edu


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