AquaSystems Focus: In the Field

AquaSystems Focus: In the Field from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Keith Byerly

by Keith Byerly

So a few weeks ago, I talked about differentiation when it came to selecting a partner to work with when it came managing irrigation scheduling. One of the points I wanted to drive home at that time was when you choose the right partner to work with you for a growing season; they are going to do a lot of things for you that you may never know about. Much like an Offensive lineman on a football team, the ACS team that works with you on a daily basis is in plain sight working with your AquaSystems Moisture probe, but to the layman’s eye, it may not be obvious as to what they are doing.

When the ACS team swings into action for the spring, there’s a lot going on that you may never see. I want to take a look at the procedures that we go through when we are installing you AquaSystems probe. We are going to jump into this at the field after we have decided where the probe is going to go.

So when it comes to installing a moisture probe, there are two methods of installation, the slurry method, and the dry fit installation. Each of these methods has some pros and cons.

The Slurry Method

The big pro of the slurry method is that it’s fairly quick. The cons of the slurry method are that you are drilling a larger hole than the probe needs, you are creating a medium around the probe that isn’t the same consistency as the other soil. As this slurry dries out, it creates cracks that the roots grow down, and therefore we get more roots around the probe and show an amount of water usage that isn’t accurate.

Dry Fit Installation

On the other side is the dry fit installation. In a dry fit installation, we drill a hole that is slightly smaller than the probe and then tap it in where it shaves off the edges of the hole as it goes, and creates a tight seal around the probe. A dry fit can be more difficult because the hole must be perfectly drilled, so the probe is installed straight. But dry fit installation is better because the seal around the probe is essentially undisturbed, and the root development around the probe should be natural.

Also during the probe installation, we are profiling the soil as we drill the hole. We are noting soil texture as we go, and noting where any changes are at. This information is vital later during the calibration process as it will affect our calibration of the water holding capacity to sensor reading.

As we finish up the installation of the probe itself, there are some safeguards that we put in place to protect your investment. One simple one is protecting the cables that come in contact with the ground by covering them in nylon snakeskin. This prevents rodents from attacking the cables. Other safeguards go in place to prevent water damage and any other weather damage.

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With the installation of the probe complete, we focus on bringing our telemetry system online. The ACS team monitors the system as it starts to make sure of several things. First, we want to make sure each sensor on our probe is giving an appropriate reading. Then, we verify the connection to the network to make sure your AquaSystems probe is online immediately.

So as the system comes together, we are now collecting the data that is going to help us make decisions for the rest of the summer. Every single time that we visit your field is important to us. This is just one of the behind the scenes parts that makes AquaSystems tick. Just like the Quarterback that calls the plays and the skills positions guys that move the football on each play, it is integral that the Offensive line knows the playbook and executes the plan properly as well.