Monitoring Soil Moisture ContentPosted on October 18, 2019
Crop farming covers 40% of our planet’s surface and consumes 85% of its freshwater.
In the world of agriculture, success and failure can so often be determined by natural processes such as rainfall, temperature and humidity. An imbalance in one direction or another can be disastrous for an individual farmer and consequently, the people who depend upon their crops for food.
It is becoming increasingly easy; however, to monitor such conditions, soil moisture content being one such factor. Soil moisture content is simply defined as the amount of water in suspension in the soil at any given time.
Soil can hold moisture thanks to its colloidal and aggregation qualities, the colloidal surfaces of the composite particulates holding water by means of its surface tension.
Why monitor soil moisture?
Plants, as everyone knows, require water to grow, in the same way as every other living organism on Earth. Therefore, the availability of water in a given plant’s environment has a direct impact on its capacity to grow.
Different plants require different levels of water, depending on where they have evolved to live. By ensuring that a plant enjoys its optimum level of soil water, it is possible to achieve healthier growth rates, as well as a whole host of other benefits:
- Soil water serves as a carrier for soil solvents and food nutrients
- The yield of a given crop is often determined by the amount of water available, as a pose to the deficiency of other food nutrients
- Soil water acts as a nutrient in itself
- Soil water regulates soil temperature
- Soil forming processes and weathering are dependent upon water
- Microorganisms depend upon water to metabolise
- Soil water contributes to the normal chemical and biological processes of soil
- Water is essential for photosynthesis
By monitoring soil water, it is possible for farmers to avoid crop losses and become more efficient in their irrigation techniques. Knowing the exact soil moisture levels allows unnecessary irrigation to be avoided, saving water.
The Internet of Things
As mentioned in previous blog articles, the Internet of Things (IoT) is an impending advancement, whereby previously unrelated and unconnected objects will be able to communicate with one another.
This allows for the sharing and compiling of data and for the creation of a bigger picture of past, present and future events. In turn, this can give farmers greater control over their yields.
IBM estimates that the IoT will help farmers increase food production by 70% by the year 2050. Additionally, through better pest monitoring and weather forecasting, the IoT could help save up to 50 billion gallons of water annually.
Prior to such advancements, soil moisture measuring has been conducted manually and as a result, less efficiently and less effectively. Conducting measurements in such a way means that it can be difficult to know the best time for planting.
The use of advanced, smart moisture monitoring in agriculture can increase crop yields and reduce water consumption, making it better for farmers and better for our environment.
At Omni Sensors and Transmitters, we supply an industry-leading range of moisture sensors and transmitters, ideal for such applications, including the new Aranet Soil Moisture EC and T Sensor.
This state-of-the-art piece of sensing technology connects wirelessly to a base point and can collect and transmit live data, ready to be accessed and collated anytime.
To learn more about our advanced range of moisture sensors, click here.
If you’d like expert advice on your induvial requirements, feel free to contact us today.