What soil moisture sensor is right for you?
There’s more than one way to skin a cat and there’s more than one sensor that can be used to measure the moisture in your soil.
Once you have decided to measure soil tension in preference to soil content the choice is simple, and limited. There are gypsum blocks or tensiometers and the former offers better value, are easier to use and are maintenance free.
Most people, however, prefer to record soil moisture content to guide their irrigation decisions and in this field there are plenty of sensor alternatives.
Capacitance probes are the most commonly used. They’re well known, widely accepted and offer good value. MEA uses the EnviroPro capacitance probe which is fully sealed and carries a 5 year warranty. They are manufactured in 40cm, 80cm, 120cm and 160cm lengths so they can be used on all crop types with shallow or deep root zones.
In shallow rooted vegetable and some berry crops where the plant’s active root zone extends to perhaps 20-30cm, a sensor which measures an average across 15cm is another option.
The Acclima sensor, pictured below, is easy to install and relocate and our testing confirms its performance. It would be a good sensor choice for use in all kinds of vegetable and berry crops
Every sensor is different; each has some advantage. We will recommend what we consider the most appropriate for your application. You are invited to visit our learning centre on our website at http://mea.com.au/soil-plants-climate/soil-moisture-monitoring/learning-centre.
The MEA Team
on 10 September 2016