Irrigation Management and Soil Moisture Monitoring
A monitoring system that takes the guess work out of irrigating.
While a large amount of investment has gone into equipment for irrigation on orchards, little consideration is often given to having the right tools to improve decision making regarding timing and volume of irrigation.
Agfirst will help you understand the benefits of soil moisture monitoring and will provide you with a reliable monitoring service so you can maximise your returns. Whether you use trickle/drip systems or sprinklers, we can help you maintain effective levels of water by giving you informed recommendations to optimise your Fruit Quality, Size, Dry Matter and Water use.
Key benefits of soil moisture monitoring:
- Increase net return by increasing crop yields and crop quality
- Increase Fruit Size & Dry Matter
- Recommended timing & volumes to apply
- Keep track of historical soil moisture issues on your orchard
- Identifies areas of risk
- Meets Euregap requirements
Risks of not monitoring:
- Over-irrigation can negatively affect Dry Matter levels, wastes water, energy and labour costs
- Over-Irrigation leaches expensive nutrients below the root zone, reduces soil aeration and thus crop yields
- Under-irrigation stresses the plant and causes yield reduction
Correct irrigation has a major influence on wet feet, good fruit size, fruit Dry Matter, speed to fill canopy (all critical in orchard profitability)
What is involved?
Initially an Agfirst technician will install a measurement tube (minimum of 2 per orchard) into selected monitoring sites as necessary to cover block variations- based on canopy size, age, variety, soil type, irrigation system and wet or dry areas or to suit your requirements.
Each week of the growing season, our technician will visit your orchard and take the soil moisture readings at 8 to 10 depths, normally down to 1 meter. The probe we use is a diviner 2000 from Sentek which uses capacitance based technology. This technology generates an averaged measure for a volume of soil up to each 10cm away from the tube. The probe accumulates ten readings per tube, one at 10cm depth from 10cm-100cm.
Results for each monitoring site will then be reported to you by an emailed link to our website within 24 hours of the visit.
What will the report tell me?
These easy-to-read reports make it easy to assess:
- When to irrigate next and how much is required
- The efficiency of each irrigation and rainfall
- The maximum water holding capacity of the soil
- The soil water content at which the crop can become stressed and requires water
- The weekly water consumption of the crop
Your report will also include:
- A graph showing the depth of soil moisture down to 1 meter below the surface compared with the last two readings.
- Time graph showing soil moisture movement over the entire season to date.
- Recommendations on irrigation strategy.
The graph provides an important tool for you to track seasonal changes of the available soil moisture.
View sample report click here.
You will also have access to our irrigation monitoring website at http://www.agfirstbop.co.nz/irrigation so you can enter any specific data you have recorded such as rainfall and actual irrigation applications.
If you do not wish to enter your own rainfall data specific to your orchard then the system automatically is defaulted to information from the nearest weather station.
Irrigation Monitoring Costs:
For further costing details and/or contact information select your region below:
Other Related Articles
- Thirsty Vines - New Zealand Kiwifruit Journal
- Kiwifruit dry matter platform - exploiting water stress using summer deficit irrigation
(ZESPRI INNOVATION ? TZ0726 2007)
- Exploiting water stress to raise Hayward dry matter
(ZESPRI INNOVATION ? TZ0726 2007)
- Heavy rainfall effects on kiwifruit dry matter in May 2005
(ZESPRI INNOVATION - TZ0611 2006)
- Sustainable management of water and nitrogen in Hort16A kiwifruit
(ZESPRI INNOVATION - 618 2008)
- Enhancement of Dry Matter in Nelson Kiwifruit
(Steve Spark - Agfirst Consultants Nelson Ltd - November 2008)