Soil sensor a game changer for future crops

Daniel RooneyNarrogin Observer
Sally Thompson and Ofer Dahan.
Camera IconSally Thompson and Ofer Dahan. Credit: Supplied

The University of WA has installed a ground-breaking new monitoring instrument on their Pingelly farm Ridgefield that will provide detailed information on carbon, water, energy and mass levels for cropping.

The device, a Vadose-zone Monitoring System (VMS) manufactured by Israeli soil-tech group Sensoil, will allow researchers to read the levels and flow of elements and compounds between canopy and bedrock, an area known as the Critical Zone.

The Pingelly site is the fifth component of a nationwide Critical Zone monitoring network.

UWA School of Engineering Associate Professor Sally Thompson said that the instrument will better the management of resources like carbon and water and improve crop yields.

“Our research team can apply what we learn here to many other sites,” she said.

“We can also link into longer-term fundamental questions about landscape evolution and how the soils, water and ecology of the Western Australian grain belt work together.”

Sensoil co-founder Professor Ofer Dahan travelled from Israel to assist UWA with the installation of the sensor.

“Conducting accurate measurements between land surface and groundwater is very challenging from both technical and scientific aspects,” he said.

“Data obtained by Sensoil’s VMS technology may shed light on the quality and quantity of groundwater recharge and give a hint to the long-term impact of land-use and climate changes on water resources availability.”

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