Soil Moisture Monitoring

Soil moisture monitoring is crucially important for irrigation scheduling, but it can seem a daunting subject as there are so many options.

Irrometer soil moisture gauge

We want to share two great resources about soil moisture monitoring.

Irrigation NZ have a comprehensive publication called “Book 11 – Soil Moisture Monitoring”.

This guide details everything you need to know about the available technologies, installation options and what to consider.

Water-Insight offers a cost-effective soil moisture probe that is included in Irrigation NZ’s book 11.

Our WSML solution uses the Watermark tensiometer technology and integrates into the IMS cloud platform. This allows you to have soil moisture, soil temperature and fixed grid sprinkler control all in the same place.

Click here for an excellent article from Irrometer which details the advantages to tensiometers and includes suggested installation depths for different crop types.

Tensiometer based probes measure the physical force holding the water in the soil, measured in kPa of soil water tension. This is a different approach to volumetric water measurement.

Traditionally this means the soil moisture graph was orientated “up” for dry, “down” for wet. This can cause confusion so Water-Insight has cleverly reinterpreted the results shown on the IMS dashboard. From the Spring 2021 edition of IMS, soil moisture graphs will now be “up” for wet and “down” for dry, to align the readings with other soil moisture monitoring technologies.

The Watermark probes are still measuring the force holding the water, which is arguably more aligned to how easily the plant can access the water.

Image reproduced from