Soil sensors and drought

An often repeated question is whether the soil sensors can predict drought and prevent such conditions ? Soil sensors by themselves cannot prevent any drought, but they will enable us predict possibilities of drought and take such steps to ensure minimize the effects of drought conditions.

A couple of years ago, scientists and farmers in collaboration introduced the ways to project when waterways may recede, signaling drought. By drilling a number of ground holes in the corn, peanut and cotton fields in America’s Georgia region, scientists introduced PVC pipes of about half meter length with sensors fitted at the bottom. This was to gauge moisture and temperature in the earth, and by connecting an antenna placed in vehicles such as tractors, they were able to record sensor readings which were wirelessly transmitted, the main part of predicting the flow of water.

Such sensors are continuing to relay information about the soil, up to a depth of 20 to 40 meters, which has enabled farmers to understand whether the water content is running out in portions of their land and if so where and when they should undertake the planting process.

Traditional manual methods to gauge water content has not lead the farmers to assess when water shortage will hit their fields, and it is only tales that they are clinging to and taking up irrigation work. It will be surprising to note that agriculture takes away as much as 70 percent of water used by humans, a fact which should be thought provoking.

Overwatering in the face of severe drought has been potently harming the cultivation of crop in many regions of the world. While river basins act as important water 'recharging' units for cultivable lands, farming activities can take away major chunk of water.

To avoid overwatering and ensure an equitable distribution of available resources, sensors have helped in a major way to guide farmers as to water content in fields and determine where and when to expect drought situations and take steps to cultivate only in areas where water content is enough.

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