Traditional farming has successfully treated each field differently according to experience and scientific advice, but the next leap demands something more. In the process of learning how to treat in-field zones individually, the constantly evolving Smart Farming requires real-time data and recorded feedback on every action. Soil Scout expands that revolution to the underground.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” – Peter Drucker
It’s well-known that root zone water availability is the most crucial factor in all plant production. However, monitoring underground conditions across a field has been so hard and impractical that until now, Precision Agriculture has focused on the easy part: aboveground data such as weather observations, optical sensing, and telemetry.
Now, we can finally let you take soil under control.
Perhaps you have never actually measured soil temperature or moisture. After all, it’s a lot of work, and in the end “it is what it is”, right? Turning the tables, there is no field work or plant development which wouldn’t depend on and influence soil conditions. So the question is rather:
How would your farming change, if you knew your soil conditions exactly at all times, without even going out?
The Soil Scout Monitoring Solution, with its groundbreaking underground radio technology, is a true game-changer in how fields are managed. The opportunity to permanently bury wireless Soil Scout® sensors across fields, do fieldwork, and forget about the sensors makes soil monitoring simpler and more consistent than ever.
With your local real-time 3D underground weather map, your view on soil behavior will never be the same again.
Precision Agriculture is well-known as a consept, where inputs are regulated site specifically based on above-ground observations. But as the most important growth events – water and nutrient uptake – take place in the root zone, why have all Precision Ag applications focused on what happens in the air?
Monitoring the above-ground has been ridiculously easy, compared to the underground.
In practise, usually when crop development starts showing noticeable symptoms, the cause could have been seen from the underground a while earlier. On the other hand, a dynamic soil moisture variability map reveals persistent root causes of yield variation, and helps to figure out corrective actions.
Precision Ag relying on weather and plant observations is doomed to remain reactive, while a real-time online view into the soil can genuily rise into proactive, smart farming.
There is no right or wrong answer to how many sensors should be placed in one field, and where exactly. However, sensing locations with different yield potential for certain, is key to meaningful data. As a start off rule of thumb, we recommend two depths at three well chosen locations in each field to be monitored. This enables actions on the extreme values, or averaging data across these reference points.
Observing how soil behavior differs in good and poor areas, reveals problems instantly.
Water infiltration speed, moisture profiling, drainage performance etc. are absolutely crucial factors, but any numerical values on these are very hard to interpret. However, comparing such figures from good, average and poor areas is an easy and straight-forward task for anyone with common agronomic sense.
This is why monitoring soil at multiple depths in several locations produces insightful data to support tangible actions based on what you see.
A common starting point for many agricultural customers is to begin their Soil Scout experience with a set of six to nine sensors for a ten hectare field, but Soil Scout experts always work out the best configuration in collaboration with the persons with the deepest expertise – the farmers themselves.
In this example Scout locations were based on historic yield maps. While drought limited growth in the poor region beginning from July, the good yield spot was able to sustain water availability throughout the season.