Realtime soil moisture measurement during field work
¹University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Sciences Agrotechnology,
Koetilantie 5, FI 00014 Helsinki, Finland
²University of Mosul, College of Agriculture, Mosul Iraq
Soil moisture affects grain germination. If the seeds are sown in dry soil the germination is poor and the emergence is uneven. In Finland, the fieldwork during the spring sowing season takes a couple of weeks and during this period the soil is drying or it is wetting if there are rains. If the seeds can be sown to optimal soil moisture content this enhances germination and increases the yield.
Soil moisture content and temperature was measured before spring tillage. By utilizing these results a prototype of soil moisture measurement system was built utilizing commercial NIRtechnology moisture sensor. This system could be used in harrows and drills so that the work is done to proper soil moisture content. The principle functioned reliably when properly calibrated and mounted. The measuring system could be further improved with narrower light beam so that the falling soil aggregates would not have interference to the results. This kind of instrumentation could be used in implements.
Harrowing and sowing season could be prolonged with a small impact on yield if the seeds could be sown to advantageous moisture content. This would be also economical because the work capacity and machine sizes could be reduced. Also risk of soil compaction would be less.