Soil Moisture Monitoring. Monitoring soil moisture is critical in both research and agricultural practice because water availability has a significant impact on various aspects of plant growth and ecosystem functioning. Vienna Scientific works with SENTEK Technologies to provide a range of reliable and innovative soil water monitoring systems to complement e.g. minirhizotron studies, and particularly facilitate water management in agricultural settings. While destructive soil sampling enables gravimetric soil moisture determination at the time of sampling, soil moisture sensors allow for much greater replication in time and space and/or continuous monitoring and instant use of the information for irrigation scheduling etc.
Drill & Drop Probe. A slim-line encapsulated, easy to install probe. Available in 4 lengths of 30 to 120 cm, the probes are configured either with Soil Moisture and Temperature sensors at 10 cm intervals, or both and an additional salinity sensor (TriSCAN), to measure volumetric water and ion contents and temperature. Wirred and Bluetooth versions (App readouts).
EnviroSCAN Precission Probe. The award-winning probe is Sentek's flagship product. It offers great flexibility for precise, continuous monitoring of water, temperature (and salinity) at multiple depths in a soil profile (down to 40 m!). Available in screw cap and flat cap versions, the latter allows the probe to sit flush with the ground surface. Multiple data transfer options.
Diviner 2000. It is a portable and rugged instrument that measures soil moisture at multiple depths (10 cm intervals) in the profile. The Diviner 2000 consists of a probe (3 lengths) and a handheld data unit for manual on-site measurements. The Diviner is particularly well suited for soil moisture measurements synchronized with root imaging campaigns, and before after impact experiments on disturbances.
IrriMax Software. Versatile tool for tracking soil moisture changes per depth over time, e.g. for adapting irrigation and research purposes. Live and Desktop versions.
Monitoring soil moisture is critical in both scientific research and agriculture because it has a significant impact on various aspects of plant growth, water management and ecosystem functioning. Hereare some exemplary fields of application:
1. Plant growth and health: Soil moisture directly affects plant growth, development, and overall health. Optimal moisture levels are essential for seed germination, root growth, nutrient uptake, and photosynthesis. Monitoring soil moisture helps ensure that plants receive adequate water to promote healthy growth and maximize crop yields.
2. Irrigation Management: In agriculture, efficient irrigation practices are essential for water conservation and sustainable crop production. By monitoring soil moisture, farmers can determine when and how much water to apply, preventing both under- and over-irrigation. This ensures efficient water use, reduces water waste, and minimizes the risk of plant stress or disease caused by inadequate irrigation.
3. Water use efficiency: By monitoring soil moisture, researchers and farmers can assess the water use efficiency (WUE) of agricultural systems. WUE is a measure of how effectively plants convert water into biomass or yield. Understanding WUE helps optimize irrigation strategies, conserve water resources, and promote sustainable agricultural practices.
4. Drought and water stress management: Soil moisture monitoring is critical for assessing drought conditions and managing plant water stress. Continuous monitoring of moisture levels enables early detection of water deficits, allowing farmers to take timely action, such as adjusting irrigation schedules, adopting drought-resistant crop varieties, or implementing conservation strategies to mitigate the effects of drought.
5. Nutrient Management: Soil moisture affects nutrient availability and uptake by plants. Excessively dry or wet conditions can impede nutrient mobility in the soil, resulting in deficiencies or imbalances in plant nutrition. Monitoring soil moisture helps growers and researchers optimize fertilization strategies and ensure that nutrients are readily available to plants.
The extensive range of Sentek soil moisture probes offer a solution for every crop type. For seasonal crops, we recommend the fast, slurry-free installation of the tapered Drill & Drop probes which come in a range of different lengths. EnviroSCAN probes are best suited to perennial and tree crops and can be upgraded with custom lengths (to great depth) and flexible sensor placements and are also field servicable. To accurately manage soils, use the advanced IrriMAX software system to receive real time information in a clear and simple graphical format. To boost management capability and responsiveness, the IrriMAX Live desktop solutions can send automated email alerts based on specified soil moisture and temperature parameters - keep farmers in the loop!
6. Environmental Protection: Efficient water management is critical to environmental conservation. By monitoring soil moisture, farmers and land managers can minimize water runoff, pollutant leaching, and soil erosion. Maintaining optimal moisture levels helps protect water quality, preserve soil structure, and mitigate environmental impacts associated with agricultural and land use practices.
7. Ecosystem function and biodiversity: Soil moisture plays a critical role in ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. It affects microbial activity, nutrient cycling, and habitat suitability for various organisms. Monitoring soil moisture provides insight into ecosystem dynamics (below and above-ground), assists in habitat restoration efforts, and in general helps to understand the impacts of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems.
8. Climate change effects: Soil moisture monitoring contributes to climate change-related research by providing data on soil water availability and hydrologic processes. Changes in soil moisture patterns are indicators of climate variability and can help assess the impacts of climate change on water resources, vegetation dynamics (croplands to forests), and ecosystem resilience.
Sentek Soil Moisture Sensors and Probes provide high data resolution and can detect moisture changes of >0.01%. Unlike other brands, the soil moisture probes can have custom or site specific calibration equations applied to each individual sensor to track water movement through the profile and plant uptake to a scientific standard. Data loggers and transmitters can be programmed to record and upload information at custom time intervals to provide accurate and valuable data. Sentek technologies have been rigorously tested and validated by the global scientific community for decades, making them a proven research solution. Sentek soil moisture probes deployed decades ago are still in use today. The soil moisture sensors provide highly accurate results and can be used in a variety of environmental conditions including saline (>20dS/m), dry and water-saturated soils. Sentek devices offer the ultimate in research flexibility: Can be easily upgraded or add to your existing monitoring systems. For example, start your research with Diviner portable monitoring and then upgrade to our EnviroSCAN continuous monitoring system without changing access tubes. Sentek technologies can also be integrated with a variety of third-party data loggers, telemetry devices, weather stations, cellular and satellite communication modules, and irrigation controllers for added convenience. Finally, the EnviroSCAN probes are fully field serviceable and sensor positions can be adjusted without affecting data integrity.
In summary, soil moisture monitoring is key for both scientific research and agriculture practice. Sentek probes help yoiu to conduct better research and facilitate sustainable water management in crop production. Get in contact to discuss how Sentek soil moisture probes can support you answering your research questions and set-up improved agricultural management schemes.