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Why soil moisture monitoring matters

In order to manage soil moisture, it must be measured

Agriculture is experiencing more volatility than ever. With the increase in water, energy, fuel, and fertilizer costs alongside more extreme effects of climate change like longer droughts and heavy rainfall events, and an increased demand for food, and retailer sustainability goals, growers are under more pressure to work more efficiently with the resources available.

In many places in the past, fresh water was readily available and since it was plentiful, we used a little more than necessary. We're beginning to realize that water and other resources should be preserved. The water which we have available should be used as efficiently as possible to optimize yields.

Many water management solutions are emerging, from the use of stand-alone watering systems to fully integrated Cloud based platforms. However, to manage something like the moisture in soil it first needs to be measured. Accurate, real-time soil moisture data is needed to support decision making and to be fed into automated systems. Besides the raw data, it may even be more important to interpret the numbers delivered from the systems to make the information actionable – and that starts with the soil.

A key issue found with traditional monitoring systems is the cost, complexity, high maintenance requirements and difficulty to integrate one system with another. Smart, wireless IoT sensors are now challenging the status quo, making it much easier - and cheaper -to get an accurate picture of the soil moisture levels in orchards and fields.

Calibration is key. Because different soil types behave differently, it’s necessary to calibrate soil moisture data for the specific local context of the soil where the sensors have been placed. There are many sensor providers who offer a standard moisture level, but they don’t account for the local soil conditions, which is a disservice to the user as they won’t be able to get the full picture of the behavior of water within their soil. For example, clay soils with different compositions of organic matter and sand (along with other factors) will have different moisture holding capacity, and thus their high and low irrigation thresholds should reflect those differences. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to soil, and that’s why we continually add to our standard calibration library to support all soil types.

Sensoterra’s newest generation wireless soil moisture sensors are revolutionizing the way soil moisture data is monitored:

  • The sensors are low-cost, which means that more sensors can be placed for less money.

  • Data can be retrieved with the free Sensoterra app, but the sensors are built to integrate. The open API, enables integrations with water management platforms and solutions.

  • The sensors can be installed in <1 minute without use of additional tools, because the sensors are hammerable (patented).

  • The sensors are 100% maintenance free, with a built- in battery which runs up to 8 years.

  • High accuracy is achieved with an extensive library of standard soil calibrations.

  • Different sensor lengths are available for different applications.

Sensoterra sensors are installed in more than 40 countries, saving the owners up to 50% on water and fuel.

About Sensoterra

Sensoterra provides data-driven solutions for optimizing land and freshwater resources for smart resilient cities, water and drought management, and agriculture/horticulture.

The easy-to-install, rugged and long-lasting soil moisture sensors offer real-time soil moisture readings optimal for data integration. Based in Utrecht, Sensoterra’s aim is to improve water management with integrated soil moisture data.

Operating in more than 40 countries, soil moisture sensors generate over 60 million global data points, optimized for integration.

Learn more at

Author Bio

René Voogt

Chief Commercial Officer at Sensoterra

Bio: René studied geo-informatics and has held senior commercial roles within GIS companies (i.a. ESRI) before. He has more than 5 years experience in the global IoT sector and previously, René has founded ConnectedGreen, a platform for sensor-based workflow management for landscapers and Smart City.


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