UF/IFAS Extension Utilizing Soil Moisture Sensors

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - One of the most uncertain aspects of farming is the weather, and especially in Florida, being able to adjust to downpours or droughts is one of the most important parts of the job.

One University Of Florida Institute Of Food And Agricultural Sciences Extension In Suwannee County is using soil moisture sensors to help farmers maximize their water efficiency.

The sensors allow farmers to view the moisture and nutrients in the crop, which helps to avoid over-irrigation and loss of plant nutrients to leaching.

Although the technology for the sensors has been in place for at least 20 years, its the advances in mobile technology and mobile phones that have made the difference in these sensors gaining popularity.

Charles Barrett says, “what has changed is our access to the information. So we’ve got cell phone antennas that relay all our of data from our data logger and the information gets stored on the computer and 4 times a day it sends a text message up to the cloud where I can access my information.”

The ability to have all the data in your hand whenever you need it helps farmers make the most out of rainfall, which is free water for them. Over the last two years, the sensors were distributed to farmers across the Suwannee River Valley and now they have expanded more across the sunshine state. Barrett says they have sensors all throughout Florida and up into Georgia as well.

This is just one of the many ways UF/IFAS is using technology to help save water and farm more efficiently.