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New Wireless Network to Revolutionize Soil Testing

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Crops in the field.

A new sensor-based approach to soil testing offers a better way to measure changes over time.

Credit: Shutterstock

A new sensor-based approach to soil testing promises to offer a more suitable method for measuring changes over time, says the University of Southampton's Nick Harris.

He says about seven sensors can be simultaneously connected to a single transmitter, which would allow for the taking of multi-point measurements of chloride in soil moisture. Planted in the ground, the sensors would create a wireless network that can collate and relay measurement readings as well as control the time intervals at which they are taken. The battery-powered unit can transmit data and information by short-range radio, Bluetooth, satellite, or a mobile phone network, as well as allow data to be logged to a memory card to be collected later. The sensors can last for more than a year.

Harris notes the traditional method for testing is to remove a soil sample from its natural environment and transport it to a laboratory for analysis, which is labor- and cost-intensive, and it would not differentiate between chloride in crystallized form and chloride in dissolved form. Moreover, the sample can only be measured once.

From University of Southampton (United Kingdom)
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