Soil Moisture Monitoring
- Potential irrigation cost savings
- Potential for decreased disease pressure for certain crops
- Potential for increased yield
Irrigation costs have become one of the largest inputs in irrigated crop production over the last decade. In some instances irrigation is limited due to pumping restrictions or the well capacity has declined over the years. Cost of irrigating with one acre-inch varies based on energy source, price of energy source, and total feet of water lift. For example, if we assume electricity is $0.08/KWH and lift of the water is 200 ft it will cost approximately $3/acre-inch. This assumes 30 PSI at the pump outlet. This cost can easily triple if you use diesel as your energy source.
Technology exists to constantly monitor soil moisture in an effort to help with irrigation scheduling. By monitoring the “plant available water” (PAW) which is the difference between field capacity and permanent wilting point you can increase the efficiency of irrigation. Cost savings with this method is usually realized early in the season and late in the season since it tells producers how often to irrigate in the early part of the growing season and when to reduce or cut-off irrigation late in the season. For some crops such as peanut, proper scheduling of irrigation helps with reducing disease pressure.
After sensor installation the producer can view the soil mositure of the profile at any given time in multiple areas of the field. Typically, sensors are placed at multiple depth but sensor packages can be customized to your needs.
What you receive:
- Moisture sensors installed in field
- Weekly updated charts and interpretation to assist in managing irrigation