Taking the guesswork out of irrigation for Lincoln University Dairy farm
Soil moisture metering is a good investment for farmers who want to stop over-irrigating and cut their energy costs, according to Lincoln University Dairy Farm manager Peter Hancox.
Installing a soil moisture metering system helped him avoid unnecessarily irrigating an 80-hectare block on at least 32 days during the 2008/2009 growing season-and cut his power bill by more than $2000.
The system sends soil moisture readings by radio transmitter to a computer in the farm office. Mr Hancox uses the readings to decide when to turn on the centre pivot used to irrigate the block.
"It's particularly useful in the spring and the autumn, when it's harder to work out when to stop and start irrigating because the weather is more unpredictable."