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Digging Deep into Soil Moisture Probe Technology

What a start to the season, 272mm (YTD) rain at the start of July. Have you ever wondered how much water is being stored in your soil profile? Are you interested to see where crops are accessing that water from in your profile?

Participants in the Liebe Group’s Soil Moisture Probe and Weather Station Network gathered on the 24th June to kick start their journey towards getting the most out the advanced equipment that was recently installed on their properties.

With an early morning start out at Brad McIlroy’s weather station in Pithara, the group were given an overview of the various sensors and parts that enable the data to be collected and transmitted in real-time. Wildeye monitoring representative Kieran Coupe was on hand to provide tips on general maintenance to safeguard the longevity of the equipment.

The main message of ‘keep your eye out and don’t hit the probe!’ was emphasised, with a maximum amelioration depth of 20cm recommended to ensure the probe and cabling is safe from damage.

Back at the Liebe Group office, the workshop continued with a brief presentation from Kieran outlining how the probes work and what data is produced through the online dashboard. Currently in development, the website link will be extended out in the next month for public access.

DPIRD senior development officer Caroline Peek, who is heavily involved in the DPIRD state-wide soil probe network, provided great insight into understanding what the information being exported from the sensors means in relation to soil water and water use efficiencies of crops.

This ‘Seeing into Soils’ project, funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program Smart Farms Small Grants Program over a two season period, will act as a ‘pilot’ to test soil moisture probe technology in our region and provide an extension platform to engage growers to increase their awareness and knowledge about how this technology could add value to their businesses.

By evaluating this real-time data, farmers can understand the implications of management decisions and gain confidence for future decisions. It can help evaluate resource management practices such as implementing strategic fallow on heavy country, deep ripping, amelioration of non-wetting soils and applying lime. By expanding the understanding and adoption of these technologies within the region, growers will be able to better manage their water-use efficiency for improved productivity, profitability and long-term environmental sustainability.

For more information on this project please contact Katrina or Bec through the Liebe Group Office.


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