Soil moisture probes put to the test

The benefits of using soil moisture probes to help with decision making across a range of applications will be tested through on-farm demonstration sites across the Central West over the coming months.

Test sites at New Mollyan, Gilgandra and Forbes have been established by Central West Local Land Services to assess the use of the tool to deliver data for seasonal decision making including nitrogen application, crop sequencing and yield estimates.

Central West Local Land Services Cropping Officer Tim Bartimote said the capacitance probes had long been used in the cotton industry but the trials would establish their potential for broadacre operations.

“We want to show producers how the soil moisture probes work, what information they provide and the benefits of an additional layer of data in the decision making process from each of the different scenarios,” Mr Bartimote said.

“At New Mollyan moisture monitoring in a conventional fallow and a barley cover crop ahead of sorghum will provide a comparison on the effects of cover cropping to soil moisture, final summer crop yield and profitability.

“In crop probes in barley and wheat at Gilgandra we will demonstrate the value of mapping moisture use through growth stages over the season to make crop nutrition decisions, predict yield and determine end point marketing options.

“The two probes at the Forbes site will compare a winter cereal to a pasture will show the advantages of understating key growth patterns and allow responses from rainfall and grazing to be tracked to make more informed management decisions through the season.”

The team hope to run small field walks to the sites later in the season and will be producing video and photo footage to show interested producers.

The trials are part of the Adapt Project which is supported by Central West Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

For further information contact Central West Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.


Media contact: Jane Phillips 0455 023 764

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