Probes in orchards to manage antifreeze systems
The risk of frost becomes more frightening as spring approaches. The antifreeze systems have given excellent results not only in mountain areas, but also for lowland stone fruit orchards.
However, management cannot be left to chance: the use of soil probes can be of great help, especially in understanding the state of water accumulation at depth and managing the irrigation campaign.
Emanuele Tavelli from Winet explains that “a very important aspect is the possibility of installing probes in winter, which cannot be done with all probes. For example, traditional tensiometers or tensiometers with electrical output do not allow it. not and in fact need to be removed in the winter as they have water reservoirs and can break.”
Monitoring the temperature of wet and dry bulbs to manage antifreeze systems while using Sentek sensors helps to understand the effect of activating antifreeze systems at ground level, thus assessing the amount of water accumulated at depth. “Basically, it helps me understand what the situation is in the different soil layers at the start of the irrigation season, so that I can avoid irrigating if the soil is still saturated.”
The installation of probes in winter is recommended for perennial crops to facilitate the installation of equipment and the reading of data during the irrigation season. “Irrigation management based on soil moisture monitoring requires the establishment of comfort thresholds to optimize plant health and avoid excess or shortage of water,” adds Paolo Antini from Sentek.
The highest threshold is known as Full Point and “is easily identified in winter due to the heavy rains that saturate the soil. After deep drainage, the maximum moisture threshold (in the active root zone) will be a reference for future irrigations.”
From left to right: Emanuele Grimaldi, Emanuele Tavelli, Mirco Valgiusti, Alessandro Melandri
Additional water would be wasted as it would flow under the roots and waste fertilizer as well as the energy needed to run the system.
“During vegetative regrowth, it will be possible to see the roots reactivate according to the actual water status of the soil, so there will be no waste and production will be optimized.”
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