The first soil moisture probe that Hussat built was installed in 2016 in our family vineyard at Farm 1396 in Hanwood, near Griffith, NSW, Australia. It was the 160 cm long dryland model (Model No. S08L16) with sensors every 20 cm and an internal primary lithium battery. It was installed with the top sensor at 10 cm below the ground, directly beneath a dripper and flush with the ground surface.
It remains there today, although an auxiliary battery pack (6 x AA) was added to prolong the life of the lithium battery as the probe was set to make hourly measurements which would have otherwise depleted the internal battery in 2 years.
The moisture data has been very important to the smooth running of our irrigation schedule. Early in the season we irrigate every third night, then later every 2nd, then in peak season we irrigate every night for 9 hours plus all weekend. The sultanas are a thirsty crop with a large canopy and Griffith is renown for hot clear summer days. We used the soil moisture data as a signal to increase (or decrease) the interval between irrigation events. The data also showed us that there is little root activity in the sultanas below 90 cm depth, as shown by the smooth change in water content of the deeper sensors (see below). On occasions the deeper sensors changed value due to winter rainfall or early season irrigation. We thus irrigate frequently, but not for so long that drainage occurs beyond 90 cm.
The sensor was placed half way down the row and the base-station near the headland. At harvest it is a simple matter of taking the base-station off the mounting pole; the sensor is unaffected by the passage of the harvester.
You can follow the moisture on our farm by opening the link to the Demonstration sites.