Soil Moisture Mapping of Okanagan Vineyards

We are happy to see our microwave soil moisture sensor being used at Nichol Vineyard in Naramata, BC. For this trial, we installed our 400 MHz version of the SmartDrop sensor on the forks of a small tractor to map soil moisture during fungicide application.

Microwave sensor mounted on tractor.

Over the course of a day, enough data could be collected to calculate a precise map of soil moisture down to about 50 cm depth with a resolution of a few meters.

Map of volumetric water content.

"This data will be valuable for managing our irrigation more precisely throughout the summer as well as setting up irrigation zones," says Erin Abercrombie, Assistant Vineyard Manager of Nichol Vineyard.

Ground-truthing with a high-end, portable soil moisture probe has confirmed that the microwave data are indeed an accurate representation of subsoil moisture. Skaha is interested in feedback from local vineyards and orchards how this sensor could be of value to them and how it may be applicable in the daily operations.

#prototype #testing #vineyards

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