See advice on using soil moisture sensors in Florida citrus groves by the president and co-owner of Certified Ag Resources.

The 2021 virtual Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference saw a presentation by Rad Yager, president and co-owner of Certified Ag Resources, on the benefits of using soil moisture sensors. Yager also shared tips for using moisture sensors, according to a Citrus Industry article. See the tips below.

Tips for Soil Moisture Sensors

Water and irrigation are big issues for Florida citrus growers facing sandy soils and the dry season. The article maintains that “Soil moisture sensor systems may provide the most reliable data for effective citrus irrigation scheduling under these conditions.”

Advantages of using soil moisture sensors include improved water-use efficiency, reduced water consumption, deeper plant root growth, and avoiding excess irrigation and nutrient leaching, according to Yager.

Tips for using sensors include:

  • Moisture Sensor Education. “As a grower, you should really invest some time in learning about this data yourself. You know your farm the best, you know the health of your trees, and you know your irrigation system and its limitations. So, if you understand this data, you can better utilize the technology to its full potential.”
  • Start Small. Yager maintained that sensors can be expensive, so he recommends that growers purchase one sensor and learn and understand the technology before buying more.
  • Utilize Resources. Yager also shared that your county Extension agent can be a good resource for support.
  • Check for Compatibility. Yager said “In the Southeastern United States, we use a lot of Verizon 3G cellular networks. However, Verizon actually phased out of that network in December 2020. If your equipment is a couple years old, there is a real risk that you could have a modem that is on the 3G network, which means it could stop reporting at some point this next year. Consult your dealer about getting an updated modem so you don’t start losing valuable data.”

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.