Rainfall - anytime, anywhere

 

Farming and rainfall records are synonymous; what farmer doesn’t want to know how much or how little nature has supplied to his operation, and when?

While irrigation water in Australia accounts for most of the water supplied to our food crops, rainfall records remain vital.

Rain gauge technology for automatically recording rainfall has changed little over the past century, yet the availability of those rainfall records to the grower at anytime and from anywhere has required more modern data collection systems.

Now MEA’s Plexus sensor-to-web systems can connect automatic rain gauges as well as soil moisture and temperature sensors to Green Brain.

The development of the Plexus rain gauge interface engaged much of engineering’s time.

The search for a respectable rain gauge at a reasonable price went along in parallel with that, and took even longer. We got our hands on some ‘tipping spoon’ rain gauges that are used on many low-cost competitive weather stations, and we sat them out in the rain next to our calibrated standard ‘tipping bucket’ rain gauges. Internal splashing of the water stream during the high-speed kick-back of these ‘spoons’ splashed water everywhere and resulted in a 20% under-estimation of rainfall.  So we’ve rejected the cheapest technology, but found a well-designed median rain gauge for Plexus that varies less than 8% from our premium gauge.

Luckily for us, all these tests occurred in mid-winter, and we’ve been watching the sky as avidly as any farmer during these rain gauge ‘shake down’ trials.

These Plexus rain gauges will be available in September 2015: contact Dominic or Justin at MEA for further information. 

Rain
The rain in Green Brain falls...anytime, anywhere...

 


1 comments:

19 August 2015
Quote

Well done all involved. That was the weak link in our plexus systems on the NSW South coast dairy pastures. could monitor the management of soil moisture but had little info to see how much water was going on to manage that soil moisture history.. As you know we have 8 field stations and 4 hubs here in partnership with Bega cheese WUE program. I'd have a fair bet we could find funds to overlay these 8 systems with real time rain/irrigation volume data... The "plug and play" is great too, so units can be added possibly without too much labour cost/logistics. PS: you may notice about half of our plexus GB'S arent telling us much- wiring poles and cows are a continuous problem - I need to do a spring overhaul , perhaps in parallel with rain bucket inclusion. thanks for info and great developments Dave O'Donnell SE LLS Bega NSW

- dave o'donnell

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