The Method

Soil moisture measurements provide a test pit, a virtual periscope, that allows users to examine that most important resource - the soil. It is a tool which shows the processes that are occurring within the soil profile. Irrigators know their fields on the surface, but the sub-surface is often a mystery. Yet this area, the root zone, is the 'factory' for crop production. The more you can learn about conditions in this soil zone the more you can improve your whole operation.

The data used in these notes is presented using the Probe, a software programme that allows accurate and informed decision making, scheduling irrigations to ensure that the soil water content is at the optimum level for plant health, maximum yield and quality. The aim is to use water more efficiently and identify problems such as through-drainage, soil compaction and waterlogging. Fields can be ranked from driest to wettest, allowing users to coordinate water delivery both to the farm and within the farm.

Probe for Windows provides farmers, growers and researchers with the means to easily combine soil moisture, weather, and any other soil and crop data, and to plot any of these items on the same graph. The data can be from data loggers; downloaded from main-frame computers; or it can be as simple as fruit size manually entered by the user. Relationships between plant, weather and soil can be examined in detail to improve the quantity and quality of the crop, and the efficient use of water.