Three-in-one soil sensors maximise agricultural yield, says Murata
A three-in-one soil sensor has been introduced by Murata for data driven sustainable agriculture. It simultaneously monitors the electrical conductivity, water content and temperature of the soil to provide farmers with data to maximise the yield and quality of crops while minimising resources such as water and fertilisers.
The tip of the soil sensor contains a grid of nine sensitive electrodes that provide consistent measurements of the soil’s electrical conductivity. Algorithms are used to allow the electrodes to measure and compare the electrical conductivity of pore water ( i.e., water between the soil particles) to the volume of the soil’s natural nutrients and added fertilisers. These measurements are not affected by soil moisture content, which eliminates uncertainty in the soil to help farmers improve crop quality and yield with the selection of optimum fertilisers.
Knowing the water content of the soil also enables the grower to irrigate the soil in an accurate and timely manner, which can save water. As well as monitoring soil conditions, the three-in-one sensor can monitor the water quality of rivers and lakes.
In addition to labour savings in agricultural work and reducing the waste of valuable resources such as water and fertiliser, the sensors provide data management and control.
“They also contribute to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs), such as environmental problems like salt damage and the accompanying food problems caused by global climate change,” said Yoshiyuki Oba, developer, Murata. “
Protected to IP68-equivalent for dust and water, including rust proofing, the energy-efficient soil sensors can run on three AA batteries for over half a year if the measurement interval is once every 30 minutes.
The multi-interface sensors also support UART, RS232E, RS485, SDI-12, and RS485 MODBUS, making them compatible with existing crop management systems.
Murata manufactures electronic components, modules and devices. The company’s range includes ceramic capacitors, resistors / thermistors, inductors / chokes, timing devices, buzzers, sensors and EMI suppression filters. In addition to ceramic capacitor manufacture, the company produces Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules, board-mount DC/DC converters as well as standard and custom AC/DC power supplies.
Established in 1944, Murata is headquartered in Japan and has European offices in Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.