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Open AccessArticle

Performance of Soil Moisture Sensors in Florida Sandy Soils

1
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Indian River Research and Education Center, 2199 South Rock Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, USA
2
São Paulo State University, School of Engineering, Department of Plant Protection, Rural Engineering and Soils, Av. Brasil Sul no 56, Ilha Solteira, SP 15.385-000, Brazil
3
Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School, PO Box 93, km 30 road from Tegucigalpa to Danli, San Antonio de Oriente, Francisco Morazán 11101, Honduras
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(2), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020358
Received: 24 December 2019 / Revised: 21 January 2020 / Accepted: 24 January 2020 / Published: 28 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Monitoring Strategies for Precise Irrigation Management)
Soil moisture sensors can improve water management efficiency by measuring soil volumetric water content (θv) in real time. Soil-specific calibration equations used to calculate θv can increase sensor accuracy. A laboratory study was conducted to evaluate the performance of several commercial sensors and to establish soil-specific calibration equations for different soil types. We tested five Florida sandy soils used for citrus production (Pineda, Riviera, Astatula, Candler, and Immokalee) divided into two depths (0.0–0.3 and 0.3–0.6 m). Readings were taken using twelve commercial sensors (CS650, CS616, CS655 (Campbell Scientific), GS3, 10HS, 5TE, GS1 (Meter), TDT-ACC-SEN-SDI, TDR315, TDR315S, TDR135L (Acclima), and Hydra Probe (Stevens)) connected to a datalogger (CR1000X; Campbell Scientific). Known amounts of water were added incrementally to obtain a broad range of θv. Small 450 cm3 samples were taken to determine the gravimetric water content and calculate the θv used to obtain the soil-specific calibration equations. Results indicated that factory-supplied calibration equations performed well for some sensors in sandy soils, especially 5TE, TDR315L, and GS1 (R2 = 0.92) but not for others (10HS, GS3, and Hydra Probe). Soil-specific calibrations from this study resulted in accuracy expressed as root mean square error (RMSE) ranging from 0.018 to 0.030 m3 m−3 for 5TE, CS616, CS650, CS655, GS1, Hydra Probe, TDR310S, TDR315, TDR315L, and TDT-ACC-SEN-SDI, while lower accuracies were found for 10HS (0.129 m3 m−3) and GS3 (0.054 m3 m−3). This study provided soil-specific calibration equations to increase the accuracy of commercial soil moisture sensors to facilitate irrigation scheduling and water management in Florida sandy soils used for citrus production. View Full-Text
Keywords: bulk density; irrigation management; water loss reduction; volumetric water content bulk density; irrigation management; water loss reduction; volumetric water content
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Ferrarezi, R.S.; Nogueira, T.A.R.; Zepeda, S.G.C. Performance of Soil Moisture Sensors in Florida Sandy Soils. Water 2020, 12, 358.

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