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Precision Irrigation: Using Infiltration Analytics To Increase Profits

Pick up most Sunday newspapers, and you can receive advice on how much you need to irrigate to make up for last week's water use. Having a good handle on how efficiently your irrigation water percolates into the ground or if your water and nutrients leach beyond your root zone is much harder. These are the problems the JAIN Logic team loves to solve

Users of soil moisture probes without proper software use a time-consuming process to understand infiltration. They select a point an increase in water is seen at a sensor record the time and measure the difference in time it takes to reach the next level. To get an understanding of the full soil profile repeat this step for each sensor level (figure 1).

Speeding the Process Using Analytics

JAIN Logic's Infiltration Analytics tool does all the heavy lifting for you. There is no studying soil moisture charts or wasting precious time working a bunch of manual calculations. The Infiltration Analytics tool reviews data collected by soil moisture sensors look for increases in moisture as water moves from the sensor to sensor through the soil profile and provides a visual tool that is quick and clear to understand.

Understanding your infiltration rate provides a higher level of management for your irrigation performance. This allows you to manage water and nutrient use better. Knowing when to start nutrient applications during the irrigation event while preventing the leaching of water and expense fertilizers becomes much easier. Infiltration Chart View of Soil Moisture

The chart above shows a series of four irrigations. In this example, the first three irrigation events did not hit the desired depth of 24” shown by the green boundary zone. The last irrigation which had a runtime much longer was able to send water to the 48” level which was the lower level set up in the irrigation zone while not leaching deeper.

Example of Over Irrigations

In this example (over the select date range), six irrigation events reached a depth below the desired range indicating a shorter irrigation event would have met the water need and not over-irrigated the rooting zone.

The infiltration Data table has a data row for each irrigation event running during the period selected. Irrigation runtime, the maximum depth water reach, time to reach maximum depth and infiltration rate are also supplied.

Color coding visually shows if the irrigation event stayed within the desire rooting zone, if an irrigation did not reach or if leaching beyond the zone took place.

Grey - no increase in soil moisture at any depth was detected for this event

Yellow - an increase in soil moisture was detected only at depths above the root zone/irrigation zone

Green - an increase in soil moisture was detected in the root zone/irrigation zone

Red - an increase in soil moisture was detected below the root zone/irrigation zone

Using soil moisture sensors will help you understand if your soil profile has adequate moisture for your crop. Understanding your infiltration is the next step in maximizing the use of water and nutrients while keeping these out of our water supplies stored below. Using JAIN Logic helps you reach the goal of growing more crop per drop

Tom Devol

Tom is one of the industry’s most forward-looking and outspoken advocates for the use of technology in agriculture. While working as an irrigation designer he ask himself a simple question, “Why are grower not using sensors in their fields? They would never drive their pickups without gauges.” This has led to a career of helping farmers improve their crops with the help of technology. Tom works with wireless, real-time sensor-based solutions enabling growers to monitor and control their field irrigation processes more effectively. He brings broad experience, and tools to growers, allowing them to reduce costs associated with their use of resources that are essential to their businesses, such as water, energy, fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides and water pump energy consumption.


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