Low Cost Sensors to Improve Irrigation Management

February 18, 2021

Video Transcript

- All right, it's 10 o'clock already, it goes really fast. So, again, welcome, this is MI Ag Ideas to Grow With Virtual Conference, my name is Eric Anderson, I'm a field crops educator based at St. Joseph County, covering the Southwest and South Central region of Michigan, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to the Water Management Track this morning. This session, Low-Cost Sensors to Improve your Irrigation Management, we'll hear from Dr. Younsuk Dong. And as I mentioned before, for those of you who are on, there are a handful of things, not a lot, for you to do on your end as far as the Zoom session goes, but if you do have any issues that come up, you might wanna jot this 800-number down here, and then you'd be able to call in and get some technical help from those folks. For those of you who would like to ask questions throughout the session this morning, the primary way that you'll do that is through the Q&A icon that's located on the bottom part of your Zoom window. Also be monitoring your chat box, your chat is primarily for us to get information out to you, or if you just have a side comment that you don't really need to have addressed, you could also put it in there, but the Q&A box is going to be your primary way to connect with us today. So this session is eligible for RUP and CCA credits, if you're interested in receiving those credits, please ensure that your name in Zoom includes your first and last name, if your full name does not appear in our list, I'll be sending you a private chat message asking you for your name, so please monitor the chat box, this is how we'll verify who has attended the sessions. Please also note that participants must be on for the entire session, so, it's an all or nothing for this one hour session in order to receive those credits, and at the conclusion of the session I'll share a little bit more about how you are gonna be able to apply for or request those credits. But before we get started, I'd like to take a moment to thank our sponsors who are shown on the screen here, we got several of them, due to their generous support we're able to offer this event at no cost to you. We're also able to offer a college scholarship opportunity, so please check out that website that's on here, again, I'm not gonna give you enough time to probably write that down, you can take a screenshot or something, but if you'd like more information about that, just ask me in the Q&A box, and I can type that into the chat box, and you can have access to that later. So, I've got a short video that I'd like to share with you, so I'm gonna go ahead and stop sharing this screen, and then put up this video for you. Caring for crops and animals creates a unique stress and pressure that can be hard on farmers and agribusiness professionals, caring for one's own health and wellness in this high stress profession is often overlooked, but it's just as critical as caring for the farm business. And whether these stresses come from a financial issue, or just stresses of everyday life, MSU extension can help, and one of the people that we have on staff with us here at MSU Extension is Eric Karbowski, and he is got a prerecorded video, he's gonna talk to us a little bit about that topic this morning. - Hi, my name's Eric Karbowski, and I'm a behavioral health educator with MSU Extension that focuses on farm stress, and today I wanted to share a couple of farm stress tips with you. We all experience stress, and stress can look different to everyone, but here are some common signs and symptoms of people that are experiencing stress. Signs of stress on the body might include headaches, stomach aches, backaches, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, you may feel your heart racing, or you may feel nauseous. Signs of stress on the mind could include feeling anxious, angry, sad, bitter, depressed, or hopeless. And oftentimes, actions that we see from people that are experiencing significant signs of stress could include not being able to sleep, sleeping too much, overeating or not eating at all, increased substance use, which might include nicotine, cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol, people may act out and break things, we may hear them yell or scream, or they may begin to withdraw. And so if you are experiencing some of those signs, maybe recognize that this could be that you're experiencing significant amounts of stress, and know that there are a lot of different supports and tools and resources that are out there to help support you in this, a number of those resources can be found on the MSU Extension Farm Stress Website, and know that there are a lot of people that are working very hard behind the scenes to help support you as you support us. So with that, thank you again for taking the time, and have a great day. - So, if you'd like to learn more about farm stress, either because you are experiencing a significant amount of stress right now yourself, or because you wanna learn something for a friend or a neighbor who you think is undergoing stress, please join us tomorrow Friday at 11 o'clock for sessions called Mending the Stress Fence, you can find that Zoom link and the passcode on that final schedule that was emailed out to you. All right, so with that, I am going to introduce Dr. Younsuk Dong, Dr. Dong is part of the MI Ag and Biological Engineering Group here at MSU, and he's gonna talk to us this morning about some research that he's been doing with low-cost sensors, so, Younsuk I'm gonna turn things over to you. - All right, well, thank you Eric, just one second. Okay, can you see my presentation? - [Bruce] Yep, looks good. - All right, good, all right, well, (clears throat). Okay, so, thank you for the opportunity to talk about the sensor work we've been doing to improve irrigation water use efficiency, so, Eric mentioned my name is Younsuk Dong, I'm an irrigation specialist in Biosystem and Agricultural Engineering Department. Today I'm going to briefly go over the companies who makes the sensor units, and then talk about how we can use the sensor data to make irrigation decision, and then I'll be describing some of our activity there, including the low cost sensor monitoring units that we've been working on. So, before I start the presentation, I wanna ask question that, this is something I've been always curious about, which method do you use to decide when to irrigate? So, I'm not sure how many irrigators are in today, but if you could select the one of items that will be good to have it. So, I guess I'll wait a minute. Eric do we know how many people has selected or? - [Anderson] Right now we have 36 people on, and 16 have voted it. - [Dr. Dong] Oh, good, okay - [Bruce] Looks good. - Eric, did you share the research? Okay, good, so we have a lot of variety. Oh, I see the 20% is dependent on the condition of crops, and there's some people use the sensors, and the MSU irrigation scheduler program, and personal calendar schedule. And good, good, thank you, thanks for the participation. So, I'm gonna move to next slide. So, first I wanna talk about the soil moisture sensors. So, the soil moisture sensors has been around for many years to understand the water in soil, and has been used to improve irrigation water efficiency. So, the soil moisture sensor can estimate and measure the amount of moisture in soil, and knowing the amount of moisture soil, it can help us to determine how much to irrigate. And we think growing season the observation of soil moisture can be very useful in monitoring crop water usage. And this slide shows the various types and shapes of soil moisture sensors that are commercially available. There are many companies who sell the soil moisture sensors, and data loggers, and hand-held reading tools, the companies are the Campbell Scientific, Meter Group, Irrometer, Spectrum, Davis, and Sentek, and Onset. I'm sure there are some other companies who sell the soil moisture sensor monitoring units, and our equipment, but I didn't have place to list it right here. So, today I'm just gonna go over just a couple of a sensor companies today, that are commonly used in agriculture right now. The first one is Irrometer, the Irrometer company has been around for many years, and Irrometer sells the two types of sensor, the Tensiometer and Watermarks, and these sensors measures the soil water tension, which indicate the effort required by root system to extract the water from the soil. So, the Watermark sensor measures from zero to 339 kilo Pascal, the value of zero kilo Pascal indicate the soil average of saturation, and the measurement of 239 Kilo pascal indicate that the soil is dry. The Watermark has been used extensively in agriculture field, especially in Nebraska State, because it's economical, the cost of one Watermark sensor is around $40. The Irrometers sells the two types of reading tools, the one is the Watermark monitor data logger, this can continuously record the sensor values, and allow to connect up to eight sensors. Irrometer also sell the Watermark hand-held reading tool, this will not continue to record the sensor values, but you can take this reading tool to multiple location, and read the sensor values, and this is relatively inexpensive compared to the Watermark monitor data loggers. Well, next one is Meter Group, the Meter Group company is used to call the Decagon, they sell the EC-5, 10HS, Teros 10, 11, 12, soil moisture sensors, and these are the frequency domain refractometry sensors, that measures the soil water content using the dielectric property of soil, which are highly dependent on the moisture content. The unique part of the sensor is that it has 3.5 millimeter like ox cable, as you see on the bottom photo, this makes a lot easy to connect the sensor to data logger. You know, some other product has a two wire, four wire, or even five wire, imagine you have to connect the 10 sensors to the small data logger, sometime it's hard especially at the field. The EC-5 is the affordable option, and 10HS is very similar to EC-5, but it has the longer core, which allows us to measure the larger volume of soil. The EC-5 and 10HS can only measure the soil moisture, but Teros 12 can measure three parameters such as the soil moisture, soil temperature, and electric conductivity. And the Teros 12 has the steel needle design, which allows for easy installation especially for the heavier soil. The ZL6 is the data logger, they used to sell the EMP 50 and 60, those still works, but ZL6 has built-in the cellular modem, which allows the real time data monitoring, and this data logger can connect up to six sensors. So, next one is Sentek. The sensor you see on the photo is called a drill and drop soil probe, this sensor probe can measure the soil moisture level every 40 inch of the four feet soil depth, this sensor also use the frequency domain reflectometric technology, and the company sell a sensor installation kit which will make a user easy to install. As you see at the left photo, is the kit that they sell, it has the drill bed with the bottom part is help you guide drill the hole straight as possible. And Sentek company also provide real time data monitoring options, which is pretty handy because you can look at data remotely. The last one is Campbell Scientific company. The Campbell Scientific they also has been around for many years, based on some of my own experience, their sensor are accurate and reliable, I would say this more research grade instrumentation, and this is really expensive. They have several soil moisture sensors like CS616, CS650 and SoilVUE10. The SoilVUE10 is their newest design sensors, this can measure three parameters such as the soil moisture, temperature, and electrical conductivity, and this sensor probe can measure multiple depth of soil moisture level up to 40 inch depth. The Campbell Scientific also provide real time data monitoring option. And I just wanna mention the MSU Enviro-weather group use this Campbell Scientific system for their weather stations. So, as technology has been developed, all the company that I mentioned earlier, provide a real-time sensor monitoring options. So, the benefit of having and using the real-time data monitoring are that, it allows user to see and download the data remotely using a computer with the internet connection, so that will save some time and reduce some costs to make extra trips to the field. And it also allow to see whether there are any problem with the sensor, without visiting sites. So, if the sensor somehow it got malfunction or it got issues, you probably see on the website, the sensor value will probably read the zero, or some really thousands or bulky numbers, then you can go back to the field and replace it or repair if possible. So, I think it's kind of the insurance to have it, it's great to have options. These are the example of Zentra Cloud from Meter Group, the IrriMAX Live from the Sentek system. But there is an additional costs with the real-time sensor monitoring system, you know, the cost per this equipment, the hardware, varies from the $1,300 to $4,000, this costs include one data logger and three soil moisture sensors. And there is subscription fee for cellular data usage, which varies from the $60 to $180 per year per data logger. So, we talked about the sensor monitoring system, that are commercially available, I just wanna discuss a little bit about some of the terminology they are useful for irrigation scheduling. Well, the first one is saturation. So, saturation means that all soil pores space are filled with water, and field capacity means the maximum amount of water that soil can hold after drainage, the wilting point indicate the soil moisture level where there is no available water from the cloud. And the right graph XX describe the soil texture, and YX is volumetric water content, and the blue line represents the field capacity, and the red line is representing the wilting point, and the area between the blue and the red line is called available water. So, one thing I just wanna point out here is that, the heavier the soil, there's more available water capacity in the soil, and the lighter the soil, the less level of the water. So, this is a table that shows the general numbers of field capacity, wilting point, and available water for each soil type, but these values may vary depending on the size, space, and condition. The amount of water in heavier and finer texture soil as I mentioned earlier, has much higher amount of water capacity than the lighter soil, and this means that the finer texture soil can hold much more than the coarse texture soil. But typically irrigation is recommended at 30 to 60% depletion of available water in soil, but this depends largely on the crops tolerance to the drought stress, and crop stage of development, and the capacity of the irrigation system. This table provide general range of recommended irrigation trigger point for each soil type. What this means that the irrigation water could be applied when the soil moisture sensor read the values within this suggested value range, but the irrigation trigger timing should be determined with the consideration of projected precipitation, evaporation, and the capacity of the irrigation system. This is an example of timing the irrigation trigger timing using the soil moisture sensors, as we saw from the previous slide, we can set the irrigation trigger point based on the soil type. In this example, irrigation trigger point was set at 141/2% for sandy loam soil, so when the soil moisture level was approaching, the irrigation trigger level, the irrigation was applied. Another way to use soil moisture sensor is to determine how much irrigation amounts, how much water can we apply to the soil. So, here's the example of a calculation of the amount of irrigation that could be applied to this tomato plant using the soil moisture sensors, this example assume that the root depth for this tomato is 24 inch, and the soil texture is the loamy sand. The three soil sensors are installed at four, 12, and 20 inch depth, and the sensor at 40 inch represents from zero to eight inch, the sensor at 12 inch represents from eight to 16 inch soil depth, the sensor at 20 inch depth represents from 16 to 24 inch depth. So, I just separate the three different zones for each soil moisture sensors. So now we need to calculate the current available water in this zone using the sensor values, so, which is multiplying the sensor values by its soil zone. So, after you calculate it and add the whole profile, the available water for this crop root zone is 2.08 inch. And with the assumption that the field capacity is 12% for this loamy sand, and we can calculate the maximum water holding capacity in this root zone, which is multiplying the field capacity which is 12% by the rooting depth which is 24 inch depth, so which came out 2.88 inch. So, the difference between the maximum water holding capacity and calculating available water in the root zone, is the amount of irrigation that could be applied. So, therefore approximately .8 inch of water could be applied to this field, assuming there is no rainfall in forecast, which typically we recommended about 80% of this .8 inch, because we be wanted to have some room or capacity for the rainfall. So, little over six to 10 inch of water is recommended to this field. This is just an example that shows how we can use the sensor data to determine and estimate the irrigation amount. So, another benefit of using soil moisture sensor is detecting the over irrigation. This graph shows the soil moisture sensor data as one, two, and three feet depth at a corn field, the corn will typically grows up to three feet, so we don't wanna water over below the three feet depth. So, we typically install a sensor on the bottom of blue zone, because this can help us to understand if the water moved below three feet depth. So, if the three feet depth soil moisture sensor data spike after irrigation, which indicate there was over irrigation it was over irrigation. So, as you see the red square on the graph, the blue line which is three foot depth soil moisture level, spike after irrigation, which means that the water has moved down to three feet depth. Well, here's another example of using the soil moisture sensor to detect over irrigation, or in this site we installed the Campbell Scientific CS616 soil moisture sensors at six, 18, and 36 inch depth, this was also in a cornfield, and approximately one inch of irrigation was recalled on July 24th, and after hours we saw the green line, which is three feet depth soil moisture sensor also spike, so, this is another example that show how we can detect the over irrigation using the soil moisture sensors. Here is some interesting observation we've done with this tomato plant, in this tomato plant we used the SoilWatch 10, the soil moisture sensor in this site, and we installed the sensors as six, 12, and 20 points inch depth, and we record the soil moisture levels every hour, and the typical tomato root system grows up to 24 inch deep. So, if the sensor at 20 points depth spike after irrigation, it means over irrigation, right? As you see the graph, the 24 inch depth soil moisture sensor which is blue line here, spiked after each over irrigation. So, producer adjusted irrigation amount, and we decided to continue monitoring the soil moisture level over time, and after the producer adjusting irrigation amount, now we don't see the spike at 24 inch depth unlike we saw the previous graph. So, this is one great example that shows the benefit of using the soil moisture sensor technology for irrigation management. Another demonstrates study we've done for blueberry, we installed 10HS from the Meter Group soil moisture sensor at six, 12, 18 and 20 points inch depth, and we recorded the soil moisture level every hour. The typical blueberry root system grows up to 24 inch deep, so, if the sensor at 24 inch step spikes, it indicate over irrigation. So, the proper vacation should ensure that water application does not flow below the root zone. The blue arrow in this graph are the rainfall, and the black arrow are the irrigation. The soil moisture sensor data it shows that the soil moisture level at all depths were increased after irrigation, which means that the irrigation provide an adequate amount of water to the blueberry root system, however, over irrigation were observed because the soil moisture sensor at 24 inch depth spiked, so, we recommended producer to reduce the irrigation amount. We've done I think pretty interesting study which is blue dye testing at this demonstration site, the purpose of this dye test was to see the water rating pattern, and also see if that this test can also tell us the over irrigation. So, to do this blue dye test, 10 foot length of drip tape was isolated and by clamping, and then three liter of blue dye was pumped into the drip tape with the 12 volt diaphragm pump, and the one part I dye was diluted with the four-part water. And we used the 15 Psi pressure regulator, make sure we maintain the required pressure, and that exceeded the maximum pressure for the treatment system, and once the day was injected, we ask farmer to irrigate it as normally he runs, and then we carefully dug around the drip tube to absorb the blue dye. So, as photo shows that the blue dye was found even at 36 inch depth of soil. So, this observation confirmed that, the producer's current irrigation practice result in the over irrigation, which is also shown from the soil moisture sensor data. So, therefore the last irrigation is recommend, to improve irrigation water use efficiency and retain nutrients within the root zone. So, the both soil moisture sensors and the blue dye testing, are effective method to help us to schedule irrigation, but the blue dye require pre intensive labor, and does not provide continuously variation, it's great for visualization, but require a lot of labor. But the soil moisture sensor continuously monitor the moisture level, which can help to determine if the irrigation adjustment improve the irrigation water use efficiency. So, I'd like to briefly mention about some consideration when installing the soil moisture sensors, because the soil moisture sensor measures only a small volume of the soil surrounding the sensor, so, the installation should be performed carefully. So, there must be a good contact between the sensor and soil, to avoid creating air gap, and try install the sensor firmly, and minimize the weakening of the sensor when you install. The depth of the sensor should be considered based on the crops root depth. So for example, the blueberry and tomato root grows up to the 24 inch deep, and the corn grows up to 36 inch deep, so just be considered the crop root depth and install the sensor at the straight grade. We also recommend to install a sensor at a shallow soil depth, especially for the shallow rooted vegetable crops. And installing the soil moisture sensor at shallow soil depth, can be beneficial to monitor the crops at the early growth stage. So, I'd like to share some of our sensor activities. Every year the Lyndon Kelly, who's MSU and Purdue Extension educator, and I, and Brenden Kelly, and Steve Miller, who's former irrigation specialist, we go around the Michigan and some location in Indiana, and we install these little over 20 soil moisture sensor monitoring systems in irrigated field. These photos shows the corn and corn field where we installed the soil moisture sensor systems, here are the soybean and potato, these fields are irrigated by the center pivot system. We also work with some of vegetable and fruit producers, who used the drip irrigation system to grow the water watermelon, and blueberries, and tomato, and kales, and these crops are grown in the greenhouse. So, I like to share, one of our current work is developing a Low-Cost Sensor Monitoring System. So, last couple of years our education team has developed this LOCOMOS, is the Low-Cost Sensor Monitoring System, they can continuously measure the soil moisture level and the leaf wetness, and display the data to a cloud-based web server. The production cost of the system is around $400 to $500 to $700, depending on what type of sensor, or how many sensor you're connecting with it, this cost include one data logger, and three soil moisture sensors, the sort of Tanner, and recharged battery, and the mounting kit as well. The measurement can be taken every 50 minute or hour, or this can be customizable, but we usually use the 50 minute for the leaf wetness sensor and temperature humidity, and we use the hourly measurements for the soil moisture sensors. And the monthly subscription fee is $5 per month for five megabytes, and there is no annual contract. So, I would just wanna mention the motivation of this low cost sensor monitoring system development, was to increase the sensor technology adoption rate. Based on the literature and the summer conversation with farmers, we found there are two main potential barriers for this technology adoption, one is one was the cost, because the current retail price of several commercially available monitoring system are expensive, and the second barrier was the lack of data interpretation. So, the raw data from a data logger is not suitable for most of farmers to make their irrigation decision without some data processing and interpretation. So, we have tested this LOCOMOS, low cost monitoring system in multiple location in Michigan, Indiana, so, once a data logger collect the sensor values, is sent to a IOT analytical Platform Cloud, and we are currently working on adding a model algorithm to this IOT analytical platform to process the sensor data. This system has a capability to read most of it commercially available soil moisture sensors, such as Watermark from Irrometer, EC-5, and 10HS from Meter Group, and Soil Watch from the Pino-tech, so, if producers already have some soil moisture sensors, they can just use it. So, we have compared the LOCOMOS with other commercial sensor system, such as Campbell Scientific and Meter Group, as you see on these figures, the LOCOMOS which is red here in these figures, performed very close to other sensor system for measuring the soil moisture level and leaf witness. So, in addition to the soil moisture sensors, we've been working on measuring the pressure at the center pivot system using our LOCOMOS. The newer center pivot system has a capability to report when the irrigation was on and off, however, the some of water system do not have the capabilities. So, we are trying to use this pressure sensors and maybe GPS tracking device, to find out when the irrigation was on and off for the center pivot system. Also, this monitoring will help us to, or this monitoring will help farmer to ensure if your irrigation system has and maintain the correct pressure and operate properly. For greenhouse, we will be using the water meter with the signal outputs to measure how much water has been applied. So, we also have been working with Dr. Martin Chilvers, who is MSU plant pathologist to understand what environmental condition that impacts the potential risk of plant disease using the LOCOMOS that we've been working on. Last couple of years we have installed a seven low-cost sensor monitoring system unit to measure the duration of leaf wetness, the temperature, and humidity in several cornfield. As you see, why we are measuring the leaf wetness, temperature, humidity, the one Chilvers talks about that the tar spot is one concern for corn industry right now, and the tar spot is common with over seven hours of leaf wetness duration, and average temperature from 60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and average humidity at 75%, so, that's why we were measuring these leaf wetness, temperature, and humidity. We also plan to use the light intensity sensors, and Non-contact Infrared Thermometer, and Thermal camera to look at the canopy temperature. I know that infrared thermometer and thermal camera is so popular now because of COVID-19, but these sensors could be used to look at how corn temperature changed over time, and looking at the heats stress or water stress, and also how understanding how irrigation can help to minimize those water and heat stress as well. So, these are the plan that we'll be working on. Well, lastly, I'd like to mention that we have extension bodies that has more detailed information on improving irrigation water use efficiency, using soil moisture sensors, and we also have another extension bulletin that describe how to efficiently manage the center pivot irrigation system, and these bulletins can be downloaded through one of our website for free, so, please check our website. The bottom MSU extension irrigation that's mainly managed by Lyndon Kelly who is MSU Extension, he has a lot of good information presentation, the papers talks about improved irrigation water efficiency, so, please check project a website. So, the question before I close, before I end the presentation, I wanna ask the question, are you interested in using sensor technology for your irrigation management? So, I have four options, Yes, Maybe, No, or N/A. So, I'll wait maybe a minute or so. - [Anderson] Yeah, looks like while we're waiting for all to populate, why don't I give you one of our questions from the Q&A. "Does the LOCOMOS work with Teros 12 digital output, or just with analog output monitors?" - Oh, that's a good point. So, the LOCOMOS can connect up to six analog sensor, and I believe eight or 10 digital sensors, so, it should work. - [Anderson] And then I guess kind of a follow-up to that, how about any Bluetooth data loggers? - Yeah, that's a good point. We can can definitely develop a Bluetooth device, but I guess, first thing we wanna set modem, but Bluetooth could be a good option I think, but you still have to drag to the field. But I think that's very interesting question, and that could be a very good option. Especially if someone who doesn't wanna pay the subscription fee, you know, so, which is data uses like phone bill we pay for the data, Bluetooth could be a great option. Okay, is that 32? Good, all right, well, I see the nine people selected yes, so, I'm pretty happy with the research, thanks for the participating in the poll. - [Bruce] I think one of the interesting things about there even though you've got some folks that don't irrigate, so that maybe the moisture sensor portion of that isn't as important to them because they can't presumably do anything about it, but having a little cost sensor out there to take a look at timing for stressors in there or maybe tar spot disease development and other things, or depending on what crop they are working with, really does leave the window open for a little bit more management with some equipment that perhaps we would have otherwise, right? - Yeah, I hundred percent agree. You know, the soil temperature could be good variable information for planting, right? Yeah, sure, a lot of sensors can be beneficial for whose is not irrigating as well, so, okay, thank you. - [Anderson] All right, we've still got a couple more minutes left, and then we have a couple more questions in the Q&A when you're done. - Okay, yeah, well, the last slide it's sharing our team members, Lyndon Kelly, I think he has two presentation this afternoon, so please check his presentation as well. Steve Miller is former irrigation specialist, he's still involved in irrigation ongoing projects. And I wanna mention the Brenden Kelly, who has done undergraduate student from bio system agriculture engineering department, he has spent helping on so much on the field experiment, project, and operations. So, here's our email address, so if you have any questions, just feel free to contact us, we'll be happy to talk with you, thank you. - [Anderson] All right, thanks Younsuk, here's another question for you out of the Q&A. Everyone else, if you have any questions for Dr. Dong, we still have a few minutes, so we can take questions, so go ahead and enter those in. "What type of sensors do you think provide the most valuable information? - That's for irrigation specialist, I think soil moisture is the main sensor that I've been using it, but like Bruce mention about the leaf wetness for looking at the fungicide application timing, is that right? or looking at what environment condition really helped impacting the disease severity, I think those two sensor will be very useful. - [Anderson] Okay, I've got a couple of questions or so to look, they go together so I'll read them together, and they're both talking about the LOCOMOS, "Does that work with Sentek, and is LOCOMOS mainly a platform to show data coming from sensors?" - Oh, good question, yeah, yes it is. So, we don't develop a sensor, yes you're right, we are just making a data logging system that allows us to collect the sensor values and send up to the cloud server, so, that's what the LOCOMOS says. I see she asked about the LOCOMOS work with Sentek, I haven't tried it, but because I don't have any Sentek sensor with me, but it will be something interesting to try. - [Anderson] Okay, here's another question from David, "Can sensors be used in sub irrigation systems?" - Yeah, yes, it can be. So, the sensors are just powered webs, it depends on what sensor you're using, but you know, a couple three inches or 40 inch, the probe you can definitely put in the underground, and the wire comes out, and the sensor from the wire connect to the LOCOMOS, so, yeah. - [Anderson] Just a follow up from one of the previous questions for the sensor question from Christina, "Actually meant what type of soil moisture sensor." - So, what type of soil moisture sensors. - [Anderson] So she said, "What type of sensors do you think provide the most valuable data," so just to clarify soil moisture sensor. - So, I think, (exhales heavily) but you, sorry, if you could elaborate that question more, or Bruce if you could- - [Bruce] Well, I have at least a theory on site which is I think she's kind of interested in the spectrum in there, in other words, anything that gives you either analog or digital data basically that data logger can actually track, right, is that? So, they would be probably, I have not seen an actual Tensiometer that has a digital readout, and if you, I guess I don't know. - No, I do not, you can convert it, but there is an additional component we might have to develop to convert that. - [Bruce] I'm guessing that's probably what the question was. - Okay, okay, good, thank you, sorry, yep. - [Anderson] I'm going to do a couple of things, so, we've got a few more questions coming in, so thanks for those. And then while Dr. Dong is replying to those, I am going to paste the link for the survey into the chat box, so again, if this is your first time joining us this week for this session, we're asking everyone to fill out a survey for giving us feedback on how things are going this week, but then also to give us a feedback about this particular session, and then at the end of that survey, that's where if you're interested in obtaining either CCA or RUP credits, you'll be able to request those at the end of the survey, so, I will copy that into the chat box in a moment here. Another question, "Last year there was work at MSU on a lower cost soil monitoring system, are there any updates for that system, and when it might be available to the general public?" - Yeah, that's a good question. Right now we've been trying to develop a package, so, right now we have a hardware, and they are sent directly to the website, but what I really wanted to do is develop a smartphone app that can directly talk to the LOCOMOS, I think it needs it before we really have more farmer to use it, so yeah, hopefully the next couple of years we can develop a smartphone app to make more easier to communicate and use the sensor systems. - Okay, and then I think you've probably answered this already, but just to clarify, and Christina typed in, "Which soil moisture sensor do you think provides the most valuable information?" - Yeah, so, I hope the question was brand, right. some specific moisture sensor, right? So, I tried different, the EC-5, 10HS, you know, different types of sensors, EC-5 is about a hundred dollar, provide pre clean data, clean values, but the SoilWatch 10 is about $30, one third cost of the EC-5, but still provide a pre reasonable on the price, the value, I'm sorry, the value, so, I think SoilWatch 10 is something that I wanna test more, and one side work I've been doing is trying to reduce some of noise that is creating from this analog sensor. So, if I can reduce some of noise from the analog sensor, what the SoilWatch 10 is creating, then the SoilWatch 10 could be different perform as the EC-5. So, there's some work I like to do, and hopefully I can update sometime next year. - [Anderson] Well, I don't see any more- - [Bruce] I have one other quick question, or at least a comment for you perhaps. So, this new digital technology, these lower cost microprocessors, have been around in the maker community for several years now, I mean, we're talking about some sensors here because it kind of works in what we're talking about today, but it does leave the option open for some things, perhaps on a farm that maybe most farmers I know are pretty handy, and like to build their own stuff, maybe we ought to do a little series on how to tackle some of the programming in there to automate some of those things, or at least to use micro-processes in that process, do you think that's a possibility somewhere? - I agree, so, right now the platform is more, I would say it's not production, it's not a prototype yet, there's not a wire going across, but what I'm doing right now is designing the PCB, so, have them own circuit boards so people can maybe build more easily with this. So, Bruce, I think that's definitely a possibility in the future. - [Bruce] Fantastic, thank you. - [Anderson] All right, there's no more questions in the Q&A, so, thanks everyone for sending those questions, and thank you very much, Dr. Dong for a good presentation and a good discussion. For those of you who are planning on joining us for later sessions, you'll use the same link that you got in here with the same passcode, next step will be at 11 o'clock, and Dr. Sung Connie will be back talking about just a slightly different topic, so, if you're interested in that, feel free to join us. If you have not yet hit the survey link that I put into the chat, please do that, and we're gonna shut this down in about 30 seconds. If you've got any questions about anything, schedule or anything like that, feel free to put those into the chat, Otherwise we'll see everyone back here at 11 o'clock.

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