eConnected Soil Moisture probes

Page last updated: Wednesday, 1 July 2020 - 12:03pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Soil moisture probes can assist in making better decisions around nitrogen management, risk mitigation, marketing and crop potential. 

They help you to find out:

- how much water you have in your soil water bucket at critical times;

- how effective rainfall events have been;

- what depth your crops are able to access moisture from;

- whether N or moisture will be your greatest limiting factor; and

- where subsoil constraints are stopping complete moisture drawdown (Oster, GRDC 2016).

Subscriptions to the network of 36 DPIRD soil moisture probe sites, including the 11 former eConnected sites, will be continuing till 31 October, 2021.

Since installation of the eConnected soil moisture probes, two significant changes have taken place.

Firstly the project has opted to change to an alternate data visualisation platform following feedback that the visual display of data on the original platform of a ‘soil water bucket’ was more helpful, and the new platform also provides an improvement to the line graphs.

The second change, is that DPIRD's Caroline Peek and eConnected’s Megan Abrahams have been working with Yvette Oliver, of CSIRO, to improve the soil moisture data by calibrating the data measurements to the specific site soil type.  

The platforms previously used a default calibration setting.  The new calibrations are based on using the Soil Water Express tool to give a ‘best guestimate’ of the Drained Upper Limit (DUL) and Crop Lower Limit (CLL) estimated from particle size analysis results from the eConnected sites.  The current probe calibrations were than adjusted to best match the newly estimated DUL and CLL. 

This is the new soil moisture data.

For soil moisture probes to work, soil cores must be taken and measured at the site, to calibrate the default soil moisture probe settings to the soil the probes are placed in.

Via the WA Internet of Things (IoT) DecisionAg Grant program, many of the successful projects are trialling automatic weather stations and soil moisture sensors. The eConnected soil moisture probe and DPIRD network could prove to be a valuable resource for comparing and assessing the value of these IoT tools.

Contact information

eConnected Grainbelt

Author

EConnected Grainbelt