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Doing Soil Moisture Monitoring the Right Way

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Written by Rob Smith |

What if you could pump less water and use only the water each crop needs? What if you used just the right amount of water and achieve your yield goal? What if you actually got a better yield with lower inputs for a price lower than your mobile phone bill?

All of this is possible by doing soil moisture monitoring the right way. We’ve put together a list of the top 5 reasons of how soil moisture monitoring can help improve your irrigation operation.

1. Soil moisture monitoring can help you schedule your irrigation.

By scheduling your irrigation, instead of irrigating by a hunch, you can irrigate to meet the needs of your crop. Your crop also gets the correct amount water when and where it’s needed. Knowing when and how much water to put on is one of the most important pieces to maximize yield. This is a win-win.

2. Soil moisture monitoring can help maximize water use in areas with water restrictions.

For those of you who live in areas that have restricted water use, you know that getting the most out of your limited water is extremely important. Using soil moisture monitoring during growing season can help you use that limited water supply in the most efficient way.

3. Your crops are talking to you – listen.

Obviously, a shriveled crop needs some water. But, by the time you observe crop stress, you may already be losing yield. Knowing what water is in the soil may help save the crop. By monitoring the moisture in your soil, you’ll be in the know as to what water your crop is actually getting – before stress occurs. An overwatered crop does not necessarily mean a healthy crop (and it typically doesn’t).

Watering your crops more does not necessarily equate to more yield; sometimes, it will lessen your yield and your overall profit. Soil moisture monitoring will help you understand when and where to water, thus helping to save your crop.

4. Take the guesswork out of water application.

When you look at your crop, you may wonder if it’s getting enough water (again, going back to the previous points). However, that’s all a guess and not a certainty. Practicing soil moisture monitoring as part of your operation literally takes the guesswork out of your water application; you’ll have the data to back up your decisions and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re watering when and where your crops needs it.

6. Work with an agronomist.

Soil moisture monitoring is strangely enough more of an art than a science. Because there are a ton of variables involved in soil moisture monitoring, work with an expert to ensure your program is successful.

For more information on soil moisture monitoring, contact your local Valley dealer.

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