Agbyte has installed a multi-function weather and soil moisture monitoring station at the UNFS trial site at Booleroo Centre.  This is the 4th ‘Hi-Tech’ monitoring site that is now being used by Farming Systems Groups across SA, the other 3 sites are kindly funded by SAGIT and are at Hart FD site, Riverton MNHRZ and Bute NSS site.  These monitoring sites contain a standard weather station, but also have some new & novel sensors to assess climatic & crop conditions.  Standard sensors are:

  • Wind speed & direction
  • Air Temperature & humidity at 1.2m
  • Rain gauge.

In conjunction to those sensors there are:

  • Canopy temperature sensor that measurers the temperature of the surface it is looking at, either the ground/stubble or the crop.  This will be interesting to follow during frosty conditions
  • NDVI sensor that measurers the greenness & biomass of the crop on a temporal nature (time), rather than spatial (like a satellite/drone image).  This essentially measurers crop growth throughout the season
  • Leaf wetness sensor. That measurers the amount of surface moisture on a scale of 0-100% which has relevance to the application of crop protection products (particularly summer weed spraying), hay baling as well as how tough the crop gets after sun down when harvesting.
  • Tower with air Temp & humidity sensors mounted up at 10m to monitor temperature inversions that occur when air is warmer as the height compared to the ground level temperature.  This is a major cause of spray drift issues, particularly during early mornings when summer weed spraying occurs
  • 1.2m sub surface soil moisture probe to monitor the crop water use from the soil profile, this has sensors every 10cm down the profile (more to come on the soil probe in the next newsletter).

Other outputs from the weather station include:

  • Delta T
  • Fire Danger Index
  • Spray conditions (based on wind speed & inversion risk)
  • Wind gust MAX
  • Dew point

The monitoring site is easily accessed via a web app that can be saved to your phone.  There are instant readings from the respective sensors (the site uploads new data every 15mins – Telstra network dependent!) as well as a range of graphs that show the weather derivatives.  Agbyte is happy to take any questions about the site and how it may add value to your business.

Disclaimer: The UNFS Automatic Weather Station Network is a data provision service. It is not an advisory service. All decisions made using the information provided through this service are the responsibility of the user. UNFS takes no responsibility for any outcomes of use of this data. All weather sensitive activities should be undertaken with point of activity weather condition verification.