News

Updated soil moisture monitoring to assist cropping farmers

By Jamie Salter

Cropping farmers will soon be able to gain more insight into soil moisture following the update of an Agriculture Victoria website detailing 36 soil moisture monitoring sites across the state.

The Agriculture Victoria Soil Moisture Monitoring website has been updated to include a detailed page dedicated to each of the sites, with new tools translating soil moisture data into meaningful, real-time, local information.

Nutrien Ag Solutions Elmore agronomist Chris Dunn praised the update to the Soil Moisture Program and said the amount of detail on the website was better than expected.

“It gives farmers a bit more confidence for things like nitrogen fertiliser application later in the year or for working out a yield estimate,” Mr Dunn said.

He said as farmers accessed more relevant information, they would increasingly need more information on their own paddocks.

“Having that soil moisture information will encourage farmers to monitor soil moisture on their own properties — it will become more and more common,” he said.

“I think it’s a good thing for farmers to have the website link pinned on their tablet or smart phone, that’s what I tend to do.”

Agriculture Victoria seasonal risk agronomist and project co-ordinator Dale Boyd said previous soil moisture data had lacked real interpretation.

“The new website takes this data and adds value to it, with tools that are easy to use such as a temperature gauge, current soil moisture profile and a one to three-month rainfall outlook for the state,” Mr Boyd said.

Mr Boyd said his favourite tool on the new website was the ‘speedo’ graph, showing the change in overall soil moisture at a particular site.

“It's a simple way to represent how the soil moisture profile has changed over the last year, in other words how full the ‘tank’ is,” he said.

The ‘speedo’ tool is just one of the features of the new website explored during a website walk-through webinar, which will be made available on the Agriculture Victoria website: extensionaus.com.au/soilmoisturemonitoring