Spring has sprung in Australia and this is the time of year that things start to happen. Longer hours of sunlight, slightly warmer temperatures and leaf emergence means plant water use will increase. It is one of the hardest periods to schedule irrigation accurately because of intermittent rain and the best times to install soil moisture monitoring equipment to help with irrigation.
Measuring soil moisture is a great way to assess the increased demands of your plants and guide efficient irrigation. Monitoring water use in annual crops will show the daily water use and let you assess the need for irrigation leading up to or after rain event, potentially saving you power, water and limiting fertiliser leaching.
For perennial crop growers, spring means green tip and bloom, and it is amazing to see just how quickly trees without leaves start using water when leaves shoot, expand and the canopy develops. Lack of water at petal fall and fruit set results in stress that will impact your final fruit size. Stress in crops in spring will result in yield loss that will never be made up later in the season.
Rather than picking a set date or routine to irrigate by, try using technology. Web enabled soil moisture monitoring will allow you to keep an eye on things and make sure your crop is getting the best start it can this spring.