Soil Moisture Sensor For Precision Farming
Soil moisture is a key factor for healthy plant growth. This is why irrigation requires a well-thought-out scientific approach, as it can be neither over – nor under-done. Soil moisture sensor is very useful in determining soil moisture, greatly facilitating farmers’ work and reducing costs.
A soil sensor enables you to schedule irrigation events more efficiently by either increasing or decreasing their frequency and/or intensity, not to wash off valuable nutrients or, on the contrary, leave the plants thirsty. A remote soil moisture sensor empowers agriculturalists to estimate the water levels without the need to be physically present in the field.
Soil Moisture Sensors In Precision Farming
A soil moisture sensor is a device that measures current soil moisture. Sensors integrated into the irrigation system aid in scheduling water supply and distribution much more efficiently. Such gauges help to reduce or enhance irrigation for optimum plant growth.
Soil sensors are classified by technology and fall into the following types:
ground – installed below the ground to monitor the root zone;
aerial – retrieving data with UAVs and seldom used for soil moisture mapping;
satellite – estimating the situation from space. It does not interfere with activities in the field and helps to save costs and do without labor-consuming installations.
Soil moisture sensor systems prove to be vital since crop cultivation is a dynamic process requiring regular maintenance. The dynamics justify using sensors for different terrains, plant development stages, climate features, and to anticipate weather risks. By analyzing infrared (IR) emission, satellite remote sensors ensure a constant stream of relevant and reliable data. Combined with satellite imagery, this data allows farmers to stay updated on any changes in the soil moisture levels and react in a timely manner.
One interesting aspect of soil moisture sensors is the fact that the more of them you deploy, the higher accuracy you will get. Their number considerably impacts the inputs while satellites can cover vast areas, and specific software elaborates field maps with multiple heterogeneous zones.
Sensor Installation And Calibration Routine
Having decided to utilize a soil moisture sensor system, you will need to install, calibrate, and adjust them constantly. Designated specialists complete various tasks. They determine:
distance from each other;
depth of installation;
the way the sensors are placed;
time of recalibration;
data reading and interpretation.
Apart from this routine, employees have to fix sensors that are out of service, validate the accuracy of data, and to elaborate irrigation patterns.
Among all types of soil moisture sensors, satellite software is the one that really saves you the trouble. Monitoring apps are user-friendly and available on many devices, including a PC, a laptop, or tablet. Thus, you are able to know what is happening in your field anywhere anytime, provided you have internet access. Such apps enable farmers to detect the issue remotely and react in a timely manner.
Reading And Interpreting The Sensor Data
When the information is retrieved, you need to be able to interpret it correctly. Different types of sensors provide different kinds of data requiring different approaches. Thus, the accuracy of interpretations directly depends on the skills of an employee. Yet, not every farmer can afford trained professionals; and, as we can see, they do not always have to.
Online monitoring apps simplify the task. You get soil moisture values for any date and any field you select. The curves on a graph promptly report on the situation and allow managing the problem.