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Article

Development and Application of a Performance and Operational Feasibility Guide to Facilitate Adoption of Soil Moisture Sensors

1
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA
2
Lindsay Corporation, Omaha, NE 68583, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010321
Received: 16 November 2019 / Revised: 11 December 2019 / Accepted: 24 December 2019 / Published: 31 December 2019
Soil moisture sensors can be effective and promising decision-making tools for diverse applications and audiences, including agricultural managers, irrigation practitioners, and researchers. Nevertheless, there exists immense adoption potential in the United States, with only 1.2 in 10 farms nationally using soil moisture sensors to decide when to irrigate. This number is much lower in the global scale. Increased adoption is likely hindered by lack of scientific support in need assessment, selection, suitability and use of these sensors. Here, through extensive field research, we address the operational feasibility of soil moisture sensors, an aspect which has been overlooked in the past, and integrate it with their performance accuracy, in order to develop a quantitative framework to guide users in the selection of best-suited sensors for varying applications. These evaluations were conducted for nine commercially available sensors under silt loam and loamy sand soils in irrigated cropland and rainfed grassland for two different installation orientations [sensing component parallel (horizontal) and perpendicular (vertical) to the ground surface] typically used. All the sensors were assessed for their aptness in terms of cost, ease of operation, convenience of telemetry, and performance accuracy. Best sensors under each soil condition, sensor orientation, and user applications (research versus agricultural production) were identified. The step-by-step guide presented here will serve as an unprecedented and holistic adoption-assisting resource and can be extended to other sensors as well. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil moisture; sensors; irrigation; accuracy; site-specific calibration; time-domain reflectometry; capacitance; electrical resistance; cost; telemetry. soil moisture; sensors; irrigation; accuracy; site-specific calibration; time-domain reflectometry; capacitance; electrical resistance; cost; telemetry.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kukal, M.S.; Irmak, S.; Sharma, K. Development and Application of a Performance and Operational Feasibility Guide to Facilitate Adoption of Soil Moisture Sensors. Sustainability 2020, 12, 321. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010321

AMA Style

Kukal MS, Irmak S, Sharma K. Development and Application of a Performance and Operational Feasibility Guide to Facilitate Adoption of Soil Moisture Sensors. Sustainability. 2020; 12(1):321. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010321

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kukal, Meetpal S., Suat Irmak, and Kiran Sharma. 2020. "Development and Application of a Performance and Operational Feasibility Guide to Facilitate Adoption of Soil Moisture Sensors" Sustainability 12, no. 1: 321. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010321

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