Evaluating soil water content data monitored at different locations in a vineyard with regard to irrigation control

https://doi.org/10.17221/9/2016-SWRCitation:Nolz R., Loiskandl W. (2017): Evaluating soil water content data monitored at different locations in a vineyard with regard to irrigation control. Soil & Water Res., 12: 152-160.
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Knowledge on the water content of a certain soil profile and its temporal changes due to rainfall and plant water uptake is a key issue for irrigation management. In this regard, sensors can be utilized to monitor soil water content (SWC). Due to the characteristic spatial variability of SWC, a key question is whether the measurements are representative and reliable. This study focused on the assessment of SWC and its variability in a vineyard with subsurface drip irrigation. SWC was measured in profiles down to a 50 cm depth by means of multi-sensor capacitance probes. The probes were installed at six locations along vine rows. A temporal stability analysis was performed to evaluate the representativeness and reliability of each monitoring profile with regard to irrigation control. Mean SWC was within a plausible range compared to unsaturated hydraulic parameters determined in a laboratory. The measurements revealed a considerable variability, but standard deviations were comparable to values from literature. The main finding was that some monitoring profiles (probes) proved to be more suitable to monitor SWC with respect to irrigation control than the others. Considering temporal stability provided helpful insights into the spatio-temporal variability of SWC measurements. However, not all questions that are related to the concept of temporal stability could be answered based on the given dataset.
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