Measure soil moisture

Written by   T.K. Systems

Maintaining soil moisture at optimum levels can significantly increase crop yields and profits by:
•maximising nutrient and mineral availability •ensuring fertilisers are not flushed from the root zone •reducing disease susceptibility •increasing oxygen levels in the soil •improving soil structure •minimising the effects of moisture stress •maximising fruit size and quality.


Available water for the crop
It is important to realise that the same percentage amount of water in different soil types yields vastly different amounts of ‘available’ water for the crop.
An instrument that gives a direct indication of water availability (i.e. how difficult it is for the crop to draw that moisture from the soil) would therefore be much better than one that indicates the actual percentage of water in the soil.
Capacitance and some other probes indicate the percentage of soil moisture, whereas tensiometers (such as the Soilspec Tensiometer System) indicate soil moisture availability.
Soil moisture control
The combination of an accurate soil moisture measurement tool and a good irrigation strategy will allow for informed decisions to be made.
The record of soil moisture readings will also give an understanding of how changing conditions affect the water requirements of the crop and help plan future irrigation strategies.
Measuring soil moisture can be expensive and difficult, but tensiometers are still a simple, cost effective and reliable method to measure soil moisture availability, particularly when numerous sites are required.

For information contact T.K. Systems
phone 03 5962 5211
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See this article in Tree Fruit September 2016

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