Sensors a Focal Point of Upcoming SE Regional Fruit, Vegetable Conference

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By Clint Thompson

Soil moisture sensors are an integral part of many farmers’ irrigation scheduling strategies.

Soil moisture sensor

Wes Porter, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension precision agriculture and irrigation specialist, wants more growers to be aware of their benefits. That’s why he’s invited a South Georgia farmer Brandon DeWitt to speak at the upcoming Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Savannah, Georgia.

“He’s used them on multiple years on his farm, multiple types. From a farming perspective, it’s always good to let a guy who’s used them at that level come and talk about the benefits and downfalls of using them,” Porter said. “He really likes using soil moisture sensors. He’s found some that really work for him. He believes he’s been able to improve his irrigation scheduling strategy by using them. I want him to share that message and talk about it from that perspective.”

Precision Ag Technology Educational Session

DeWitt and Porter will be featured on Saturday, Jan. 8, at the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference as part of the Precision Ag Technology Educational session.

Sensors are placed in the ground to provide producers with assessments of the soil’s quality. With the sensors’ help, questions of whether the soil is too dry, too saturated or whether certain areas are drier than others can be answered accurately.

“I think they’re as widely or more widely used in our vegetables and specialty crops because we recognize there’s bigger opportunity for return on investment there. We’re looking at higher value crops with tighter margins sometimes. We can make them pay for themselves a lot more rapidly in those types of crops because we’re irrigating them almost every day, if not every day, multiple times per day, independent of rainfall,” Porter said. “Having a sensor out there to really know where we’re at, where we need to irrigate, really helps us out so we’re not just blindly following a timer schedule.”

Click here for information on on-site registration for the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference.