Making Informed Irrigation Decisions With Semios

April 14, 2021

soil moisture probe installation

Semios Field Services Crew installing soil moisture probes

With irrigation season in full swing, here are 3 tips you can use to maximize your water this year. Read on!

Track Evapotranspiration (ET)

ET tracking is an important irrigation management practice that involves using weather station information to understand how much water your trees will require in a given week.  Having a good understand of your field's ET will ensure that the water you apply matches your plant's demands. Another way to think of ET is ‘water in = water out’.  To verify this match, growers will install pressure transducers in the irrigation lines to track on/off irrigation activity. 

Historically, many growers have relied on publicly available or regional weather stations for their ET information. The trouble is, these stations could be miles away from your orchard and situated in very different topography. To get the most accurate ET readings, Semios in-canopy sensors track ET in-canopy, provide 7-day forecasts and even compare your field's ET with the nearest public station for reference. 

Evapotranspiration on Semios dashboard

 

Monitor Soil Moisture 

Soil moisture probes can be used to report available water content (AWC). AWC is the percentage of how much water is available to a plant, similar to a gauge measuring how full a reservoir is.  

With water being one of the most important crop applications, accuracy is critical to ensure you’re getting meaningful soil moisture data you can work with. To this end, calibration is very important which is why Semios provides a measured, rather than estimated calibration. 

The probes are calibrated to detect Field Capacity (FC) and Permanent Wilting Point (PWP) individually at their specific location in the field. FC is 100% and refers to the maximum amount of water the soil can hold. PWP is 0% meaning the plant can no longer extract water out of the soil.

Another important factor is Management Allowed Depletion (MAD) which is the trigger point for irrigation. It is the point at which you will want to irrigate so that your crop doesn’t experience undue stress.

Semios includes all these factors in an integrated irrigation planner to help growers and their irrigation consultants make the most effective use of their water.

UI-Screenshot_Soil-Moisture

Incorporate Dendrometers

Dendrometers are plant health sensors that show the plant’s response to applied water. Dendrometers are installed in the trunk of the tree to measure the expansion and contraction of the trunk throughout the course of the day. The trunk expands during night as the roots uptake water and contracts during the day as water transpires through the leaves. 

Semios displays trunk displacement, daily gain, maximum daily shrinkage, and tree water deficit to help growers and their irrigation managers observe plant water stress and make informed irrigation decisions based on the plant’s response. 

UI-Screenshot_Plant-Stress

Getting To The Root Of It

The most difficult aspect of irrigation is that we can't walk through the roots to observe the health of the soil and roots. Semios water management tools provide granular insight into how your irrigation program is performing. By bringing all your irrigation-based information into one place, you can make your most important decisions quickly and with more confidence. 

 

UI-Screenshot_Irrigation-Planner

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