"We had a GDot in a block of plant cane, supplied and monitored by Farmacist, as well as tensiometers in other blocks under the same arrangement.
Initially we were a bit sceptical as to what the unit was telling us. Our gut feel was that the block was wetter than what the GDot was telling us but we irrigated using it as a guide regardless. Once the cane got to full canopy and we started taking growth measurements, we realised that it had probably been a better indicator of soil moisture in the early stage than we initially thought.
The most critical use for the GDot for us was knowing when to start irrigating after a rain event. We didn’t have much rain this season but, with the few rain events we had, the GDot told us whether the soil profile had been filled to capacity or not and how soon we would need to start irrigating again. Every time, it told us that we had to start earlier than we otherwise would have. Knowing how much growth slowed when soil moisture was low got us thinking how much we’ve lost over the years with all those lost irrigation days.
While we can’t quantify the benefits of using a GDot in dollar terms, we expect some of our plant cane blocks this year will yield higher than they have for many years. How much of any gain can be attributed to better irrigation is speculation but there’s no doubt a properly set up GDot is a valuable tool in any irrigated crop."
|Con J. Christofides, Cane Grower from Ayr|