Dismiss
Privacy Information

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, analyze site traffic, personalize content, and serve targeted advertisements. You can read our Privacy Policy here and update your preferences from the side menu if you change your mind.

Olds College project evaluates 5 soil sensors for accuracy and ease of use

By:

January 11, 2022

Loading
Offline

Soil sensors can provide a multitude of information, but not all soil sensors are created equal.

As part of Olds College’s Smart Farm applied research programs, the accuracy and functionality of five different soil sensors and their capability to measure soil properties were evaluated. Daniel Stefner, Smart Ag Research project lead and farm liaison at Olds College, presented findings at Alberta Agronomy Update on Jan. 11.

Loading
Offline

The overall project list in the Smart Farm’s research program is long, including autonomous agriculture, weather monitoring, remote sensing and monitoring, decision support platforms, and in-field sensor technologies, such as soil sensors.

“One of the things we’re doing is evaluations,” says Stefner, including ease of install, use, troubleshooting, maintenance requirements, and connectivity. The program is also validating soil sensors for accuracy of measurements, testing software, and identifying other problems and solutions.

Loading
Offline

“We’ve learned that connectivity is very important,” says Stefner, adding that simplicity of setup is key and that maintaining subscriptions — no different than your phone plan — is important. Practicality of installing the soil sensor is also very important says Stefner, as it doesn’t make a lot of sense to disturb or damage soils when using the device.

Stefner says that throughout the research, not every soil sensor device works “as advertised” and that rocks and soil probes don’t often mix, but in the Olds, Alta. area, rocks aren’t much of an issue. Products designed and built elsewhere may not automatically work or suit Prairie conditions, says Stefner in his presentation.

Loading
Offline

The key learning, Stefner says, is that connectivity is key and that if your phone is having a hard time connecting while you’re in the field, so is the sensor device. Devices that can record while offline are beneficial, he adds.

The Soil Sensor cluster is funded by: Alberta Innovates, Arable, CFI/RCP, ICT International, METOS by Pessl Instruments, NSERC, RealmFive, TELUS, and WD.

Loading
Offline

More info on the research program can be found here.

Related

Liming Where You Need It — New Soil Mapping Options from Veris Technologies

Bosch’s in-field sensors aim to provide custom cropping recommendations