Sentek’s soil moisture probes

16 February 2023


Sentek’s soil moisture probes are widely used to manage soil moisture and fertilizer applications in irrigated potato crops. Irrigation and fertigation schedules are based on the information provided by probes on root growth; water content at various depths; fertilizer penetration and use; and irrigation water infiltration and usage rates. Management benefits from data include yield and quality optimization, water and fertilizer savings and disease and malformation control.

The probe sensor data from Sentek Drill and Drop probe added to the extra services available like NDVI and MeteoBlue weather forecasting, all displayed in IrriMAX Live software, has opened up new problem-solving capabilities to the agronomist. Referred to as the Sentek “Agronomist Toolkit”, the combination of technologies is used for trouble-shooting tillage effectiveness; lateral water spread; salinity build-up and the impact of irrigation timing and rates.

In the example below, an array of five Sentek Drill and Drop probes measuring soil moisture, salinity and temperature every 10cm down to 60cm, were installed across the mound. The installation was via the fast patented undisturbed technique based on the probes tapered shape. Sentek 2D Imager software is used to understand the dynamic changes in soil water, salinity/fertilizer and temperature in the whole root zone.

The IrriMAX Live 2D moisture plots:
• Monitor water added, available at different depths and water extraction in the mound.
• Show that water reserve exists for later in the season as roots grow.
• Illustrate changing dynamics of water use showing plant root-water uptake interaction at various depths.
• Show water movement from the valleys moves into the base of the mound.
And for the salinity plots:
• Applications of fertilizer can be observed in the soil.
• Large rainfall events leach salts from the soil profile.
• Water travelling laterally leaches fertilizer salts from the soil.
• Salinity build up can be monitored and then managed

Climatic data from MeteoBlue subscription including historical measurements and 7 day forecasts (local rain/irrigation amount and air temperature options plus NDVI measurements were added forming a high-value suite of technologies to aid in planning.