Great Bend Co-op Agronomy Weekly - February 2, 2019

Soil Moisture Probes

Long summer days offer up plenty of work for growers. There is no lack of decisions to be made during the growing months of spring planted crops. Pivot irrigation plays a crucial role with many of our growers and knowing when to start a pivot and when to shut it down can be a challenge.
Soil moisture probes can be a great tool to aid in watering schedules. Being able to see what the soil moisture is down to 48” can offer great insights into how much water is available for the crop to uptake. Soil probes like Aquaspy® have sensors every 4” to help growers maximize water and nutrient availability. These sensors not only read moisture but also temperature and EC.
The soil sensors also detect root growth. Knowing how far down the crops are rooting and seeing the availability of water at and below those roots can help determine if it’s time to start the pivot or if it can be delayed for a day or two. This delay saves growers money and our most valuable resource, water.
The EC sensor detects movement of salts. It’s the salts in the fertilizers we use that the soil probe reads and displays on a dashboard for easy viewing. After a fertilizer application is made, a grower can track the movement of the fertilizer to make sure it doesn’t move out of the root zone ensuring maximum effectiveness of the application.
Though it may not seem like an essential investment, soil moisture probes have a great ROI. Moisture probes save water, money and time. Check with a sales person and Great Bend Co-op about how an AquaSpy® soil moisture probe can be a great fit on your farm.
Don’t forget to check with Cammie Vaupel to see if you qualify for government programs that can help offset the cost of a soil moisture probe.