The overall rate of daily crop water use can be determined by adding together the soil moisture content at each depth to create a summed graph. This is important because a reduction in daily crop water use can often indicate that the plant is under some moisture stress. It is at this level that a “refill” point can be established, such that when the soil moisture content reaches this point then irrigation is required. Similarly, a “full” point can also be used to indicate how much moisture is required to fill the profile without causing drainage past the root zone. There may be times during the season when the relevant “full” and “refill” points could change, based upon the growth stage of the crop and crop objectives. This information forms the basis for developing an irrigation template—user-defined soil moisture thresholds at specific growth stages—for strategic irrigation management in the future.
The soil moisture requirements of annual crops change as the plants mature and their roots develop. Perennial crops have critical growth stages with different water requirements. Irrigation templates can be used to manipulate the quality and yield of crops or to match varying crop demands. The SensorSentry remote monitoring solution allows users to develop irrigation templates that highlight changes in the irrigation strategy throughout the growing season.