Soil moisture is a strong indicator of the health and potential of soils in a field, but there is no set value that means soil is "good." The makeup of soil is just as important as the types of plants attempting to grow in said soil to know what levels of soil moisture are optimal for any given situation. Furthermore, nature has a nasty tendency to throw a curveball, knocking carefully balanced irrigation plans out of whack.There are a large variety of ways to measure soil moisture, and the intensity and level of sophistication you use is largely dependent on how finely you can control your irrigation system. Knowing the exact percentage of water in your soil day by day doesn't matter much when your irrigation plan is just to flood-irrigate your field a few times a season, but a drip irrigation system could be a reason to invest in precision soil moisture measurement instruments to take advantage of the full control you have.
Gravimetric analysis is one of the most accurate ways of measuring moisture content in soil. By weighing a sample of soil, drying it, and weighing it again, you can obtain a precise calculation of the soil moisture content. Manual gravimetric analyses have their drawbacks, though, in how much time and attention they take to perform the method correctly and in how few samples they can handle at a time.
By adopting an automated thermogravimetric analysis instrument like LECO's TGM800, up to 19 samples from around your fields can be analyzed at a time with no more effort than the initial measurement. The instrument handles all of the drying, measuring, and tracking of the samples, allowing for fast and easy monitoring of your soil. Poor soil health can lead to thousands of dollars of lost revenue. Fill out the form below to see what you've been missing with this application note demonstrating how effectively the TGM800 can measure soil moisture.