Advances in Crop Water Management Using Capacitive Water Sensors

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Advances in Agronomy


Advances in microelectronics during the last decades resulted in the development of several dielectric-based soil water monitoring techniques, that is, time-domain reflectometry, single and multisensor capacitance probe (MCP) systems. These techniques have simplified the real-time determination of water content at fine spatial and temporal scales. In this chapter, single and MCP systems will be referred to as capacitance. Because of their relatively low cost and ease of operation, capacitance has enjoyed widespread acceptance among researchers, growers, and consultants. This chapter gives an overview of the principle of operation of capacitance soil water content measuring systems. Installation and calibration procedures of these systems were also covered. The applications of capacitance are diverse. They have been used extensively as an essential part of many irrigation scheduling programs for different crops. We used real-time logging capabilities of capacitance to give more detailed information about plant water uptake, effective rainfall, and also to determine some soil physical properties. Results of these types of studies demonstrate that considerable improvement in efficient water use can be made by collecting high-resolution soil water content data in the soil, around the crop. Despite their success, the capacitance system showed some temperature and salinity effects for different soil types. Further research is needed to eliminate these salinity and temperature effects if these capacitance systems are to take their place as some of the leading soil water monitoring sensors. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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