The specific features and benefits available to customers vary depending upon installation, but can include:
- Brings true site specific Precision Farming into soil condition management
- Remains undisturbed regardless of above-ground animals or vehicles
- Save up to 50% or more irrigation water and power
- Reduced loss of expensive fertilisers caused by over-watering
- Reduced risk of nutrient leaking into water bodies
- Regular and on-going insight, regardless of weather or time
- Leverage Analytics with 3rd party systems e.g. alarms, automation
- Lower equipment maintenance costs
- Ability to add additional Scouts at any time, with minimal or no reconfiguration of other solution elements
Gain insight at root level, regardless of time of year or weather conditions.
Roughly 50% of significant agronomic phenomena occur above ground, while the other half takes place under ground. Still, precision agriculture and farm data management systems only deal with the on-soil part of the plant growth. Continuous soil information can be characterised as the missing link in information driven smart farming.
Soil Scouts enable year-round recording of key soil parameters and this information can be effectively refined into sophisticated observations on soil behaviour. Combining precipitation data to soil moisture recordings will reveal infiltration speed and changes in this speed will indicate soil compaction issues. Long term correlations between soil moisture and yield will solve field specific irrigation efficiency.
Experience in previous soil condition traffic-ability will indicate present opportunity to perform field work, when conditions are far from optimal.
Due to the impracticality of former monitoring equipment the dominant factor used for irrigation control has been evapotranspiration (ET). However, irrigation control only compensating for the estimated water loss may result in a serious offset bias due to imperfect models, seepage and micro climate.
In order to obtain confidence in plant water availability the solution has been – and still is – systematic over irrigation, which induces problems in both crop quality and water resource wasting.
Using the Soil Scout system alone or in conjunction to ET models gives genuine knowledge on soil conditions without laborious soil sampling and enables the farmer to take advantage of the latest irrigation approaches such as the controlled deficit irrigation. Bringing in-field variability into the equation makes management precise and requires true soil observations from across the fields in real time.
Soil Temperature Monitoring
Until now, appropriate equipment for soil condition monitoring has not been available for regions where soil frost plays an important role in field work timing. A short growing season and need for accurate soil behaviour forecast defines agriculture in these zones.
Relying on frost depth data results in unpredictable results, if not frost layer temperature, water content induced heat capacity, deep soil temperature and topsoil thermal insulation are accounted for. Soil Scouts installed at various depths inside a reasonably homogenous field will give complete real-time information on underground thermal phenomena in a convenient way and unprecedented detail.