Soil Water Monitoring Irrigation Insight, Second Edition
This Irrigation Insights information package brings together information on current equipment and techniques for measuring and monitoring soil water status, extending to their use as controllers in automatic irrigation systems.
The main part of the package focuses on equipment with agents and backup within Australia. The hub of the publication is a collection of tables summarising the main product features. This enables rapid comparison of product features.
As well as technical data, there is also commercial information on suppliers, contact details, availability and price (accurate at Oct 2004). Case studies from personal experience and from the literature provide further insight into the advantages and limitations of each device in relation to its potential applications.
Help to avoid the economic losses and effects that under irrigation and over irrigation can have on crop yield and quality.
Help to avoid the environmentally costly effects of over irrigation: wasted water and energy, leaching of nutrients or agricultural chemicals into groundwater supplies, and degradation of surface waters with contaminated irrigation water runoff.
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen over the past 4 years is that many sensors are now able to link with a variety of measurement systems. This brings the advantage of integrating several instruments on the same logger and having all information telemetered (again with an ever widening range of options) to a central point. User-friendly hand-held systems that greatly reduce or negate cabling are also making collecting, recording and displaying information much easier.
Further development of sensor technology has now produced multi-measurement instruments capable of tracking solute (eg. salinity, fertiliser) through a profile.
Irrigation farmers are under increasing pressure to manage water more prudently and more efficiently. This pressure is driven by ever decreasing water allocations, product quality requirements, economic factors, demands on labour and the desire to minimise the resource degradation and yield loss that can result from inefficient irrigation.
The need for farmers to irrigate more efficiently has led to an explosion in the range of equipment available for measuring the soil water status.