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New Soil Scout and GreenSight partnership gives greenkeepers an unparalleled above-and-below ground view of their golf courses

 

Buried Soil Scout sensors gather critical underground information while drone-mounted GreenSight Turfsight technology visually analyses the course from the air.

 

HELSINKI, Finland (June 23rd, 2020) The team behind the wireless underground soil monitoring solution Soil Scout has announced a new equal distribution partnership with US-based GreenSight, a leading provider of autonomous aerial intelligence services for golf courses. The technology partnership will give greenkeepers a real-time understanding of how to create optimal above and below ground conditions for their courses while increasing efficiency on water and nutrient usage. 

 

“Understanding what happens is critical if fields are to reach their true potential,“ said Soil Scout CEO Jalmari Talola. “When it comes to greenkeepers, their challenge is real – to maintain extremely high-quality surfaces over large areas while facing pressure to cut water consumption and act in an environmentally sustainable way.

 

“Our technology partnership with GreenSight will see Soil Scout Sensors strategically buried across golf courses, giving greenkeepers instant insight into what’s happening below their soils. These insights will be combined in GreenSight’s TurfCloud platform with a cutting-edge machine vision analysis of the entire golf course captured by drone-mounted sensors. Greenkeepers will see everything happening on their courses – and be able to plan their day’s work – before they set foot outside.”

 

The equal partnership will see Soil Scout acting as a reseller of the GreensSight TurfCloud product line in Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, with GreenSight acting as Soil Scout reseller and distributor in the United States.

 

GreenSight CEO James Peverill commented, “GreenSight is excited to be able to offer our industry-leading product, TurfCloud, through the Soil Scout Company. Being able to add Soil Scout to our dashboard will greatly add to the data already being captured. 

 

“We look forward to helping their customers manage their soils more efficiently and improve their facilities across the world. We’re equally excited to be able to distribute their intuitive soil condition sensors to our growing customer base.”

 

Recently backed by Husqvarna last year’s seed funding round, Soil Scout was co-founded by Finnish agrotechnology Ph.D. and 19th generation farmer Johannes Tiusanen and electronics expert M.Sc.Eng Jussi Sirkiä with a mission of giving soil experts the information they need to effectively manage their lands. The Soil Scout team will work with GreenSight’s experienced robotics, spacecraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs/drones), advanced communications, agriculture and land management professionals to further develop new products and services for their customers.

For additional information:

Jalmari Talola, Soil Scout CEO

+358 40 8201709

[email protected]

 

Jason Van Buskirk, GreenSight VP of Sales and Marketing

+1 774-244-2630

[email protected]




Soil Scout massively optimizes water and energy usage by providing permanent buried wireless monitoring. Our small buried “Scout” sensor transmits moisture, temperature, and salinity in near real-time from up to 2 meters/ 6 feet below the surface, for up to 20 years, maintenance-free. Our partners include farmers and agricultural producers around the world, golf courses like Singapore Island Country Club, and arenas like Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit soilscout.com.

The GreenSight Platform includes a suite of autonomous drone hardware and sensors for remote sensing and mapping, as well as software for data processing, visualization, and assessment. Capture multiple types of data in a single autonomous drone flight, and make smart choices using our data analysis software tools. The GreenSight team has years of experience working with government offices and regulatory bodies both in the US and internationally. GreenSight’s platform has been used at over 250 customer locations since 2016, gathering 2 million acres of data. For more information visit http://www.greensightag.com.

Why Meadow Club Uses Soil Scout for Data-driven Golf Turf Maintenance?

Kevin Hauschel Meadow Club Golf

Meadow Club in Marin County in California is a unique, world-class golf club, located just 50 miles away from San Francisco, in a tranquil area surrounded by beautiful nature. As the first golf course in the US designed by the renowned Dr. Alister MacKenzie in 1927, Meadow Club carries its heritage with pride. Every day, the maintenance team ensures that the course and turf are in tip-top shape to provide the golfers with unforgettable playing moments.

Despite its nearly centennial history, Meadow Club is ahead of its time in its advanced, data-driven turf maintenance practices. Soil Scout’s underground wireless soil sensors and Cloud-based monitoring solution help the team optimize the turf quality with accurate, real-time soil moisture, salinity, and temperature data.

In this article, Meadow Club’s superintendent Kevin Hauschel explains why Meadow Club chose Soil Scout and the ten most significant benefits.

1. Underground Soil Sensors Show When and Where Water is Needed

 

Soil Scout soil monitoring data

 

Soil Scout’s solution enables us to optimize irrigation accurately. The soil sensors tell us where and when the water is needed. As the soil conditions vary significantly across the property, not all greens and fairways can be treated according to the same program.

With the root-zone soil moisture data provided by the underground sensors, we know which are the most at critical spots to focus, and we can treat them early – to keep the stress away and avoid diseases.

2. Soil Scout Complements Other Technologies with Accurate Soil Data

One of the crucial advantages of having Soil Scout is that its accurate, real-time underground soil data perfectly complements other turf maintenance technologies – such as our Greensight drone-mounted thermal imaging solution.

With Soil Scout on board, we can now compare the above-ground thermal imagery, with accurate, below-ground evidence, and fine-tune our data-driven turf maintenance practices.

3. Soil Scout Increased Working Efficiency Compared to the Previous Solution

One of the biggest reasons for choosing Soil Scout is increased working efficiency! Now our team doesn’t have to fiddle around, taking sensors in and out, as with our previous solution.

We have become more efficient as a team. We can spend less time on unproductive tasks, and proactively concentrate on tasks that directly affect turf quality and health!

4. Easy and Fast Installation

 

golf soil sensor installation

 

Easy and fast installation are valuable features. They make the initial investment cheaper and reduce the recurring maintenance costs because each re-configuration requires less time and effort.

The ability to just dig the sensors in the ground and know that they are going to work for up to 20 years is a significant benefit for us!

5. The Wireless Solution is Flexible and Customizable

Soil Scout’s wireless system with cable-free underground sensors and solar-powered radio signal repeaters provides turf managers exceptional flexibility. It makes maintenance more efficient and allows us to optimize the system as per our needs – so, we can place the sensors where they are needed the most. The wireless, solar-powered repeaters can be freely moved around the property.

 

The wireless, solar-powered radio repeater, Soil Scout Echo.

The wireless, solar-powered radio repeater, Soil Scout Echo Repeater.

6. Start with a Small Initial Investment – Add More Sensors Over Time

With Soil Scout, a golf club can start with a small initial investment, and scale it along with the budget.

The benefit of this is that you can start to learn data-driven turf maintenance practices with one hole. Six sensors strategically placed at the most critical spots are sufficient at the beginning.  You can easily continue to add sensors and gain more knowledge and in-depth information across your property over time.

7. With Soil Scout You Are Not Dependent on Cellular Signal

Many wireless soil monitoring solutions are built on cellular connectivity, which can be a major draw-back because many golf courts, just like meadow Club, are located outside of strong 4G coverage. The signal strength can be weak in some spots, or, in the worst case, it is not available at all.

With Soil Scout, you are not dependent on a 4G signal. The short-range/local radio technology was a big drawer for us, as we don’t have to rely on cellular coverage right across the property. Now we can install the soil sensors where we most need them, rather than where the coverage allows!

8. One Easy Dashboard for Soil Sensors and Drone Images

 

soil scout golf dashboard

 

The cloud-based Soil Scout dashboard is easy to use for several reasons. Firstly, all information fields and charts can be rearranged and named based on our fairways and greens, and anyone in our team can check the situation on any sensor, anytime. We can also see both the Soil Scout sensor data and Greensight’s drone-based aerial thermal images under the same TurfCloud umbrella dashboard.  

9. You Can Follow Soil Data Trends Year-on-Year

The ability to build data patterns and monitor trends year-on-year is essential in data-driven golf turf maintenance. It allows you to optimize your maintenance practices in the long-term. You can learn more about timings of the inputs such as fertilizers, and pesticides, and see the effect on the diseases, grubs, and on the turf quality in general.

10. Soil Scout Enables Longevity for Your Club’s Turf Maintenance Practices

The world-famous golf courts such as Meadow Club are permanent establishments, which must deliver players, from one generation to the next, their unique signature golfing experience. To sustain superior turf quality in the long-term, a club must build longevity in their turf maintenance practices. As a superintendent, my responsibility is to ensure that the next guy can take over the helm at Meadow Club, and continue keeping the turf in the best possible shape and health. Soil Scout’s sensors and underground data enable us to extend the same data-driven turf maintenance practices for years to come! 

 

“Having in ground sensors from Soil Scout helps us become more efficient and tells when and where we need the water most at critical times” – Kevin Hauschel, Superintendent, Meadow Club

What’s Data-driven Golf Turf Maintenance?

Data-driven golf turf maintenance is based on data that provides accurate and actionable information about soil’s growth conditions. The data is available in real-time to enable turf managers and superintendents to carry out high-precision, timely soil maintenance practices. The data-driven golf turf maintenance saves operational costs, reduce water consumption, and helps to maintain optimal turf quality always.

 

Download our whitepaper – Data-driven Sports Turf Maintenance – it gives golf and sports turf professionals 10 Tips for optimized turf maintenance!

Contact Soil Scout for a Trial!

 

How Can Farmers Reduce Center Pivot Irrigation Costs by up to $135,000 by Cutting in Water?

center pivot irrigation cost reduction soil scout

Center pivot irrigation is a common technique in farming, yet it has the highest costs. Diesel alone can cost up to $25,000 yearly for 15 acre-inches per center pivot system. Farmers have enormous pressure to reduce costs and save water, but it’s not easy without jeopardizing crop quality and yield. It requires a systematic and careful process. 

This 4-step irrigation optimization approach using wireless soil moisture sensors can help farmers reduce water consumption! With a reduction of up to 50%, they can slash center pivot diesel costs by $135k in 20 years with a payback under 2 years!

Read this blog for the four-step irrigation optimization approach – and, check the model Calculation to estimate your cost savings!

Download the full four-step irrigation optimization guide here

Typical Center Pivot Irrigation Costs

Center pivot operating costs consist of, e.g., diesel, electricity, oil and lubricants, repairs and maintenance, labor, and more. Diesel fuel is one of the primary operating costs, and it varies greatly. According to the University of Georgia’s crop production budget 2019, a center pivot irrigation system can consume diesel worth $12.50, and electricity for $7.00 per every irrigated acre-inch.

So, if 15 acre-inches are applied during a season, the total yearly diesel bill becomes $187.5 per acre. This corresponds to a total of $25,600 of yearly diesel expenditure for a fully-rotating center pivot system assuming a 136 acre field. If electricity was used, the total yearly energy cost in the same scenario would be $14,280.

Reducing the Costs via Optimized Irrigation – What are the Risks? 

The center pivot operating costs are directly proportional to the utilization of the system: the number of runs and the amount of water pumped. Reducing water consumption is a challenging task, however. The lack of accurate soil moisture data has been the biggest constraint – i.e., how much water plants can get from the soil currently and how much irrigation is needed? 

Optimal soil moisture is critical for plants. Recent research on soil moisture optimization showed that yield losses start to develop well before drought reaches the wilting point. Actually, plant growth slows down immediately when root-zone soil moisture falls below the optimal range.

Even a small water deficiency has several negative impacts on plants: less water reduces photosynthesis, which slows down growth. Reduced water uptake means less nutrient uptake.

So, decreasing water usage without continuous, underground soil moisture monitoring is a huge risk, because traditional above-ground weather observation appliances such as rain gauges, evaporation models, or drones do not represent underground conditions accurately.  

How to Reduce Water Consumption Safely? 

 

center pivot irrigation cost reduction

 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to water savings because required actions depend on farm location, soil quality, overall weather conditions, crop type, and several other parameters.

However, by continuously monitoring underground soil moisture, and optimizing center pivot irrigation based on reliable feed-back, farmers can follow the best-practice methods – such as the four-step irrigation optimization approach – more accurately. This enables farmers to reduce water consumption more efficiently and with a lower risk than traditional techniques – such as manual inspection, evaporation models, or weather observations.  

The Four-step Approach for Optimizing Irrigation

Here’s how to optimize center pivot irrigation based on reliable underground soil moisture data to save diesel and electricity costs, and water.

 

1. Obtain the Optimal Soil Moisture 

Always aim to optimize and maintain your soil moisture at Field Capacity center pivot irrigation optimal soil moisturelevel (FC). It is optimal for plant root health: water is readily available, and there is plenty of oxygen for transpiration. But, if plants consider FC as optimal moisture content, how much drier soil plants can tolerate? Use underground soil moisture sensors to define the lowest acceptable soil moisture level to save even more water. However, monitor soil moisture continuously to avoid too dry soil and slowed down plant growth. On the other hand, soil moisture above the FC level also hampers growth and causes water leakage.

 

2. React on Incidental Rainfalls Accurately

Observe how natural rainfall influences root zone moisture to know how much you can cut back on center pivot irrigation to save water. Note that rain gauge’s information does not indicate actual underground soil moisture.

 

3. Optimize Irrigation Based on In-field Soil Moisture Variations

Take into account in-field soil moisture variation in the center pivot runs to reduce water consumption locally. Soil moisture is never evenly distributed across a field. It can vary highly from one area to another, and you should optimize irrigation accordingly – or at least be aware of the high and low values.

 

4. Deploy the Controlled Deficit Irrigation strategy

Deploy the Controlled Deficit Irrigation (CDI) strategy to put just the right center pivot irrigation CDIlevel of stress on plants to achieve higher crop quality and save lots of water while suffering only a tolerable yield loss. Without continuously monitoring the actual root-zone soil moisture, this delicate balancing comes with an unacceptable risk of total crop failure.

 

Download our full four-step description for a detailed description.

 

Soil Monitoring in Center Pivot Irrigation – Is there an easy way to do it?

Running center pivot irrigation systems and managing a comprehensive underground soil moisture measurement system simultaneously in the same area is complicated with traditional solutions.

There is an easy way, now! The new wireless underground soil monitoring solution doesn’t affect center pivot operations. Farmers can simply bury wireless soil sensors in different parts of the field at different depths. The Soil Scout sensors measure underground soil moisture, temperature, and salinity, and upload the data every 20 minutes. Farmers can see the information on a smartphone or laptop continuously and in real-time.

Based on this data, farmers can follow long-term trends, compare root-zone soil moisture in different areas, and plan the center pivot irrigation runs in an optimized way – to improve productivity, reduce water consumption, and save operating costs!

The wireless soil sensors are easy to install; simply dug them into the soil. They do not have cables, so farmers can place them deep enough to stay safe from the center pivot wheels. The battery can operate up to 20 years underground; no maintenance is needed.

 

soil moisture sensor

 

How to Estimate the Center Pivot Irrigation Cost Savings?

Center pivot irrigation diesel and electricity expenditure varies from one farm to another based on the amount of pumped water, water source, fuel consumption, the price of diesel per liter, cost of electricity per kWh, and many, many other reasons. However, based on rule-of-thumb assumptions, savings of up to 50% can be achieved as per the diagram below.

 

irrigation water savings

 

The irrigation optimization guide explains more about how to estimate water savings. With the below calculation model, you can estimate the potential cost savings in a specific scenario.

 

HOW TO ESTIMATE DIESEL/ELECTRICITY COST SAVINGS PER CENTER PIVOT SYSTEM

 

Cost of diesel per 1 acre-inch according to the University of Georgia, 2019 (electricity $7.00):

$12.50

Estimated Acre-inches of irrigation per year (qty of irrigation runs):

15

Assumption of irrigated surface area per center pivot system (acres):

136

The calculated total cost of diesel per year:

$25,500

Estimate how much water you can save through optimized irrigation practices

 

1 Obtain the Optimal Soil Moisture – potential saving:

10%

2 React on Incidential Rainfalls Accurately – potential saving:

20%

3 Optimize Irrigation based on in-field soil moisture variations – potential saving: 

10%

4 Deploy Controlled Deficit Irrigation (CDI) strategy – potential saving:

10%

Estimated water savings in total: 50%

Potential yearly savings in diesel costs:

$12,750

Investment lifetime in years (Soil Scout sensor runs 20 years underground without maintenance):

20

Estimation of the total diesel cost savings during the investment lifetime:

$255,000

Net Present Value (NPV) of the potential savings (rate of return 7%):

$135,074

   

What’s the payback time for the Soil Scout wireless underground soil monitoring solution?

Contact the Soil Scout sales team to find out!

 

The UN World Water Report 2020 – What Does it Say About Agriculture?

agriculture irrigation

There isn’t another human need as critical as clean water. Despite this, according to the UN World Water Development Report 2020, 2.2 billion people currently do not have access to safely managed drinking water, and 4.2 billion live without carefully managed sanitation.

The UN’s Water Report says that agriculture uses the most water globally – 69%. Read this blog for our key take-aways on water usage in farming!

Introduction

Global water use has increased sixfold over the past century. It is rising by approximately 1% a year.

UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, which is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, aims to guarantee access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all people within ten years.

This goal is admirable, but unfortunately, and as the report also concludes, it is threatened by global climate change, which is severely affecting the availability, quality, and quantity of water needed for safe drinking and sanitation.

Agriculture Water Usage

Agriculture is the biggest user of water. It accounts for 69 percent of global water withdrawals.

agriculture water usage

Global agriculture water withdrawal

The climate change, the increasing temperatures, and drought will hit the irrigation land used by agriculture dramatically. Although it only accounts for 2.5% of the total land area, it represents 20% of all cultivated land and generates some 40% of the global agricultural output.

This makes climate change, shortage of water resources a treat to the world’s food production. Also, water withdrawal, diversion, application, and drainage can produce long-term environmental externalities such as groundwater depletion, soil salinization, and pollution from runoff and drainage.

Water Usage in Livestock

agriculture irrigation livestock

Meat production, including beef, pork, poultry, and sheep, is expected to grow 77% by 2030 in developing countries. Also, non-ruminants, i.e., pigs and poultry are expected to see high growth rates.

Consequently, livestock water withdrawal will grow too, and not only due to the evapotranspiration on grazing land. Livestock also requires extensive watering and cooling of live animals as well as irrigation water for the production of fodder and imported protein concentrate such as soya or grain.

Given this expected growth, the extent of grazing land and its sensitivity to drought are essential, since feed substitutes such as soya and cereals are predominantly rainfed and are likely to be impacted unless production is buffered by irrigation.

UN’s Water Strategies: Adaptation and Mitigation  

The UN water report promotes two complementary strategies in resolving the water challenge: adaptation and mitigation.

While it is essential for water management to adapt to climate change and to address increasing water stress for agriculture and industry, water management can also play a vital role in the mitigation of climate change. Concrete water efficiency measures can have a direct effect on energy savings, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specific water management interventions such as conservation agriculture, wetland protection, and other nature-based solutions can help to sequester carbon in biomass and soils.

Advanced wastewater treatment can help reduce GHG emissions while supplying biogas as a source of renewable energy.

How Can Technology Help to Combat Water Challenge?

The UN report sees that technology can have a critical role in managing the global water crisis. The integration of science, technology, and innovation policies into water development strategies can contribute to raising efficiency, improving resilience, and fostering the transition towards sustainability within the water sector.

Innovation provides more affordable and efficient technological tools, enables their implementation, and is indeed central to bringing water-related scientific knowledge and technology into practice.

Science, technologies, and innovation are rapidly evolving, and they continue to support several water-related management activities, including

  • overall assessment and monitoring of water resources and hydrological processes
  • conservation, recovery, and reuse of water resources
  • adaptation of infrastructures
  • cost reduction in treatment and distribution processes
  • the efficiency of water supply delivery and use
  • access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Several innovations in the water sector have deepened the collective understanding of climate-related challenges and provided new ways to adapt to climate change and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

How Soil Scout Helps Farmers Reduce Water Usage?

In agriculture, water can be saved by optimizing irrigation. However, you can do this only if you can measure soil moisture reliably!

Only ~ 30 percent of the significant agronomic phenomena occur above ground, while the majority (~70%) of it takes place underground. Despite this, traditional precision agriculture and farming data applications only observe how the above-the-ground weather affects plant growth. This data doesn’t enable farmers to optimize irrigation efficiently!

Soil Scout provides farmers the easiest solution for monitoring underground soil information such as moisture, salinity, and temperature continuously using a wireless solution. With Soil Scout, you can follow long-term correlations between soil moisture and crop yield, optimizing your irrigation while increasing productivity – and saving water!

Learn more about Soil Scout’s wireless underground soil monitoring solution!

soil moisture sensor

 

How to Optimize Soil Moisture for Best Crop Productivity?

optimize soil moisture for best crop productivity

As a farmer, you probably know how drought can impact your crops. But, did you know that even short periods of reduced soil moisture diminishes crop growth, and lowers your profitability?

The problem is that it is almost impossible to optimize underground soil moisture by measuring the above-the-ground weather with rain gauges, aerial images, or drones. 

There is a smarter way, though. With underground wireless soil sensors, you can monitor root-zone soil moisture accurately, and see the data in real-time. The sensors are easy to install, no cables are needed, and they run 20 years underground without maintenance.

Read this blog to learn how to optimize soil moisture by using underground sensors!  

(The findings are based on recent research on the effect of soil moisture on plant growth – you can download the full research report.) 

How Does Soil Moisture Affect Plant Growth?

There’s a common misbelief that only severe drought limits crop growth. It’s true that total crop failure only occurs when plants wilt permanently, but recent research conducted with underground soil sensors clearly shows that yield losses start to develop much earlier – immediately when root-zone soil moisture falls below the optimal range.

Even a small water deficiency has several negative impacts on plants. Less water means less photosynthesis, which means lost growth. Simultaneously, less water uptake means less nutrient uptake.

optimal soil moisture diagram

Diagram from the research: the areas with the highest yields stayed within the optimal soil moisture window throughout the entire growing season – 100% of the time. In comparison, the lowest yield area had optimal soil moisture level, only 25% of the time.

Also, when root-zone soil moisture is not optimal, plants waste energy in obtaining water from the soil, which has an inadequate water supply. In other words, the energy, which the plant would typically use for growing, is partially lost because it is now spent on water uptake.

These are the reasons why water availability is the most critical growth factor, and even short periods of insufficient soil moisture reduces growth, productivity, and profitability.

Don’t Measure Weather When You Want to Understand Soil!

Farmers have always put in their best effort to ensure that their fields provide sufficient moisture for plants. However, with the traditional methods and tools, it has been nearly impossible to measure and manage soil moisture accurately. Above-ground observation appliances do not provide the needed underground soil insight. Why?

Firstly, the rain gauges that most farms use to get even a slight understanding of their plants’ growing conditions are not good for estimating underground soil moisture. Actual root-zone water availability is a combination of initial status, drainage, capillary water rise, plant transpiration, and evaporation – and they all vary a lot even within the same field, and that cannot be measured with a rain gauge.

Secondly, the intensity of a single rain event can easily vary 50% per every half a kilometer. Different parts of a field do not get an equal amount of water. This is yet another reason why soil moisture varies a lot within a field, which results in uneven growth.

Thirdly, single-spot soil sensors are not practical because every part of the field is different. Regional ET models and water deficiency estimates are no better in revealing the huge differences within your fields, not to mention answering the essential questions:

  • How severe is the actual moisture deficiency in the root-zone?
  • Which parts of the field are affected?
  • For how long have those regions suffered from restricted growth?

Clearly, observations on what happens in the air do not give you accurate information about the underground soil moisture. These inaccurate estimations lead to management-by-guesswork, and you end up reacting to damage that has already occurred.

So, why don’t you ask the soil itself?

How to use Wireless Underground Soil Sensors?

soil moisture sensor

With the new wireless soil monitoring technology, you don’t have to settle for guesswork based on weather observations, and inconsistent sampling!

You can bury underground wireless soil sensors in different parts of your field at different depths. The Soil Scout sensors measure underground soil moisture, temperature, and salinity, and upload the data every 20 minutes. You can see the information on your smartphone or laptop.

Based on this data, you can easily follow long-term trends, compare root-level soil moisture in different areas, and treat each area in an optimized way – and improve productivity across your fields.

The wireless soil sensors are easy to install; you simply bury them. They do not have cables, so you can dig them deep enough to stay safe from your machinery. You can go on with your farming as if there were no sensors! The battery can operate up to 20 years underground; no maintenance is needed.

With permanently buried soil sensors, installed in the root zone, below the plants, your soil moisture management becomes fast, easy, and accurate. When sensors are placed in carefully chosen locations, they allow you to observe and learn moisture trends from season to season, and improve productivity, year by year.

Download the Soil Scout solution description.

In Conclusion

Soil moisture varies significantly in different parts of a field, which causes variable yields, and reduces overall efficiency and productivity.

You can only manage what you measure! With Soil Scout underground sensors, you can find the root cause of low yield areas, identify regions, which require improved water-holding, or better drainage, see when irrigation is needed, and observe correct dosage, and add fertilizer only where plants benefit from it.

In other words, you can finally manage soil moisture! 

The findings are based on recent research on the effect of soil moisture on plant growth – you can download the full research report. It provides actionable guidelines for using Soil Scout to collaborate with your soil, to produce the best possible crop!

Learn how accurate underground soil data enables you to increase crop productivity! Contact our sales team!

Optimize Sports Turf Irrigation and Maintenance with Underground Soil Data

optimize sports turf irrigation

The primary challenge in Sports Turf Irrigation, is: how to ensure a safe, durable, and high-quality playing field while optimizing water consumption and maintenance costs?

The irrigation is often scheduled based on inaccurate information. As a result, Turf Managers cannot achieve optimal turf conditions, water is wasted, and repeated maintenance activities increase costs.

There is an alternative – by using Underground Wireless Sensors; you can easily monitor soil quality data in real-time in multiple spots, detect the infield soil variations and irrigate each part of your turf in an optimized way – saving costs, time, and water! 

Soil Scout provides wireless soil monitoring at many sports and golf turfs globally – including the iconic venues, the Wembley Stadium, and Philadelphia Phillies.

In this Blog, we explain how to optimize sports turf irrigation and maintenance with underground soil data!

Download our whitepaper – Data-driven Sports Turf Maintenancefor 10 Tips for using underground soil data to improve turf quality!

What’s the Main Challenge in Sports Turf Irrigation?

Lack of accurate underground soil data, which would also provide an insight into the infield soil variations, makes irrigation optimization difficult for Turf Managers.

The turf maintenance staff often use hand-held measurement instruments to collect soil data. However, poor repeatability of the exact measuring spots reduces the consistency of manually collected data. Further, collecting enough samples to compensate for this inconsistency, not to mention covering an entire field properly, becomes an excessively laborious task.

Automated irrigation is usually scheduled according to evapotranspiration (ET) models, which are unable to expose local differences such as uneven precipitation – let alone providing enough granularity to detect the infield variations in soil moisture.

How Unoptimized Irrigation Affects Turf?

sports turf irrigation

Unfortunately, scheduling Turf Irrigation based on inadequate information causes several problems.

Under-watering

Under-watering a turf results in a hard field surface, which increases the risks of shin splints, and shoulder and knee injuries, and slows down turf growth. Increased salinity, on the other hand, reduces grassroots’ ability to take up water and nutrients.

Over-irrigation

On the contrary, over-irrigation intensifies unnecessary turf growth and results in lush turf, which doesn’t tolerate heavy use. Wet soil surface compacts quickly and the roots’ ability to access water deeper in the soil. Many weed problems emerge due to over-irrigation. Over-irrigation increases leaching of nutrients, and denitrification (nitrogen is lost into the air).

Unbalanced Irrigation

The ET-models cannot provide sufficient detail for detecting soil moisture variations between different parts of the field. Hence the irrigation is applied uniformly across the entire field – even though the parts exposed to most sun and wind would require more water compared to the areas which stay most time in the shade or receive more intense natural precipitation.

You end up wasting the maintenance budget on reactive care, rather than investing in proactive, long-term turf development!

Consequently, it is impossible to achieve optimal field conditions without accurate underground soil data. Instead, extra maintenance actions are required throughout the season. Consumption of fertilizers and water surfactants increases, much water is wasted in the process, and, consequently, you end up wasting the maintenance budget on reactive care, rather than doing proactive, long-term turf development.

The Solution: Optimize Sports Turf Irrigation with Underground Soil Sensors

sport turf soil monitoring solutionThe solution is underground soil monitoring using wireless sensors, which are easy to deploy and can measure moisture, salinity, and temperature in multiple spots at your turf in real-time. With the data provided by the underground sensors, you can determine precisely, which parts of the turf need to be treated, and when – and where do you need more sensors to support your agronomical problem assessment!

Why Should You Monitor the Infield Soil Variations?

With the underground sensors, you don’t have to settle for inaccurate information based on a single average moisture value for the entire field. Instead, you can place multiple underground sensors across your field in the locations you know are different by experience, monitor different parts of the field separately, and apply an individual management plan for each of them.

By capturing the infield variations in your field, you can apply the right site-specific maintenance activities, identify the optimal areas and replicate the conditions, eliminate quality variations, avoid unnecessary maintenance activities, and refocus your maintenance efforts and budget on more pressing issues and proactive turf development. So, by monitoring infield soil variations, you can avoid unbalanced irrigation!

The Benefits of Underground Soil Monitoring

sports turf irrigation soil data

When you monitor the soil quality below the field surface, you can avoid the problems of under-watering and over-irrigation. Here’s a rundown of the benefits:

  • Improve the field quality and minimize infield quality variations
  • Optimize the field hardness and minimize injuries
  • Increase the maintenance work efficiency
  • Reduce water consumption
  • Avoid leaching – use fertilizers more efficiently
  • Diminish the need for expensive water additives and surfactants
  • Optimize turf growth pace
  • Reduce reactive maintenance costs and invest in proactive development instead!

Why should you choose Soil Scout’s Wireless Soil Sensor?

sports turf wireless soil sensor

Soil Scout is a highly accurate underground wireless sensor, which provides you with soil moisture, salinity, and temperature data in real-time on the Cloud – on a smartphone, or your irrigation system among the many alternatives.

The sensors are easy and quick to install, and you can monitor the soil conditions with any number of sensors buried in the field. You can start with a small number of sensors, and simply dig in more whenever the need arises.

The cost-efficient system allows you to cover an entire field, collect data from multiple spots, and to capture the infield variations in soil moisture, salinity, and temperature accurately.

Soil Scout sensors are entirely maintenance-free. The sensors are fully buried, allowing for obstacle-free turf maintenance – the battery lasts for more than ten years of continuous operation.

The unique, patented radio technology of Soil Scout is developed and optimized for underground wireless data transmission. The underground antenna autonomously adjusts itself to the soil’s electromagnetic conditions providing the highest performance in the market – reaching the antennas hundreds of meters away!

No SIM card is required on the sensors. A simple above-the-ground antenna picks up the sensors’ signals and transmits the data to the Cloud via a cellular modem.

Soil Scout is not just a simple soil moisture sensor without a cable. The complete system allows you to gain a deeper view with rich, accurate data to collaborate with your agronomist, to find out even better practices for pesticides and nutritional regimes, following the recorded moisture, salinity, and temperature levels from a season to another. It is a multi-faceted agronomic tool – you can decide on the way to use the data!

In Conclusion

Sports Turf Irrigation is only as accurate and efficient as the data behind it!

With Soil Scout, you don’t have to settle for outdated and inconsistent soil moisture information anymore. Soil Scout provides you with a smooth and cost-efficient wireless solution for monitoring real-time underground data with unprecedented accuracy. Now, you can be sure that your turf is going to deliver a safe, high-quality arena for sports until the end of the season – with less water and lower costs!

Learn how accurate underground soil data enables you to Optimize the Turf! Contact our sales team!

Download our whitepaper – Data-driven Sports Turf Maintenance – it gives turf professionals 10 Tips for using underground soil data for optimized turf maintenance!

Soil Scout will be at Fruitlogistica


 

Soil Scout will be participating at Fruitlogistica start-up day in Berlin Messe 7th of February 2020.

You’ll find us from Hall 9 booth D11-12. Come and visit us!

Soil Scout raises significant late-seed round led by Husqvarna Group


The system – used by customers including Wembley Stadium – is the first to transmit critical soil data wirelessly from underground in real-time

HELSINKI, Finland (October 8th, 2019) Wireless soil moisture sensor startup Soil Scout has closed a significant late-seed funding round led by Husqvarna Group, with private investment closing out the round. Soil Scout plans to use the funding to scale production so they can help more farmers, sports venues, and managers of green spaces around the world better manage their water resources.

“We are extremely excited about the recognition from Husqvarna as they have over a century’s worth of experience in the field and understand the need for water management,” said Soil Scout’s CEO Jalmari Talola. “This funding is important for us as it allows us to improve our collaboration with new and existing partners and customers, as well as extend our product portfolio,” he concluded.

“We were particularly impressed with Soil Scout’s track record, with high-profile sports grounds like Wembley Stadium and Citizens Bank Park (home to the Philadelphia Phillies) already utilizing the system,” said Björn Axling, Vice President, Corporate Venture Capital at Husqvarna Group. “This, in addition to a strong team and the truly impressive capabilities of the Soil Scout system, convinced us to invest in Soil Scout, ” he continued.

Unlike above-ground solutions, Soil Scout’s sensor is the only system capable of transmitting moisture, temperature, and salinity data in near real-time from up to 2 meters below the surface, for up to 20 years, maintenance-free. 

19th generation farmer, doctor in agrotechnology, and inventor of the Soil Scout solution Johannes Tiusanen built the system to give farmers the data they need to become precision agriculture specialists, both conserving water resources and increasing yields on their land over the long-term.

“Quite contradictory to what people think, precipitation actually is inadequate, even here in Finland: we have plenty of water, but agronomically in the wrong place,” said Tiusanen. “When it comes to agriculture, topography, draining and soil composition can lead to different parts of the same field having a substantially different yield potential. At Soil Scout, we have built a future-proof below-ground monitoring solution that can stay in operation and in-situ for decades,” he continued.

The system also allows farmers and turf professionals like golf course superintendents and sports venues managers to gain a detailed picture of their soil quality while leaving topsoil, pitches, and greens undisturbed.

“The Soil Scout moisture units have exceeded my expectations in their usefulness”, said Mike Boekholder, Director of Field Operations at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. “I feel like we tend to not overwater as much, making management of the clay a bit less guesswork and a bit more science. Any advantage we can get in providing a better-quality surface, I’ll take. They certainly are a nice tool to have and help us tremendously in that regard.”

Husqvarna Group is a global leading producer of outdoor power products and innovative solutions for forest, park and garden care. The Group sells its products to consumers and professionals in more than 100 countries, with net sales amounting to SEK 41 billion in 2018.

For additional information:

Media kit with pictures

Jalmari Talola, Soil Scout CEO

+358 40 8201709

[email protected]


Soil Scout massively optimizes water and energy usage by providing permanent buried wireless monitoring. Our small buried “Scout” sensor transmits moisture, temperature and salinity in near real-time from up to 2 meters/ 6 feet below the surface, for up to 20 years, maintenance-free. Our partners include farmers and agricultural producers around the world, golf courses like Desert Mountain Arizona, and arenas like Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit soilscout.com.

Husqvarna Group

Husqvarna Group is a global leading producer of outdoor power products and innovative solutions for forest, park and garden care. Products include chainsaws, trimmers, robotic lawn mowers and ride-on lawnmowers. The Group is also the European leader in garden watering products and a global leader in cutting equipment and diamond tools for the construction and stone industries. 

The Group’s products and solutions are sold under brands including Husqvarna, Gardena, McCulloch, Flymo, Zenoah and Diamant Boart via dealers and retailers to consumers and professionals in more than 100 countries. Net sales in 2018 amounted to SEK 41 billion, and the Group has more than 13,000 employees in 40 countries. For more information, visit www.husqvarnagroup.com

Alternative method to choose Scout locations 2 – Veristech


While in-field variation of farming soils has for a while been assessed by different kinds cameras, methods that actually get involved with the dirt are becoming commercially available as well. Today among the very first farms in Finland, the field plots at Soil Scout trial farm were scanned by Juha and Jussi Knaapi with a combination of an on-the-go Veristech soil scanner and a Wintex soil sampler

The scanner measures three soil parameters on the fly: 1) conductivity, 2) NIR organic content and 3) pH. Note the water tank on the scanner – the water is used for the mandatory washing of the pH sensor after every sample analysis (which is why Soil Scout does not include pH sensing).

Once the scan is complete, the soil organic matter (SOM) map remains a relative heat map. This is why the system finally decides 3 locations for collecting soil samples: a high, an average and a low NIR value point. These points are then sampled with the Wintex and sent for accurate laboratory SOM analysis to provide calibration values for the remaining map.

This above described method applies the basic cost saving philosophy of using smart techniques to decide a few points of high interest and then measuring those by sophisticated means. Which is exactly what Soil Scout does regarding the continuous monitoring of soil moisture and temperature conditions: choosing the essential locations based on vegetative observations and recommending those for Soil Scout sensor points.

This summer we will be able to compare up to 6 different methods to define in-field zoning and bring our experiences to the benefit of our Soil Scout customers. The mapping is carried out in co-operation with the MIKÄ DATA research program at the Pori university center.