Steven Muscat Final Report

Region: Mackay

Who: Steven Muscat

Location: Homebush

The aim of telemetry is to use sensors to detect changes in soil moisture and in turn automatically inform the grower when adequate soil moisture is achieved or when irrigation must be applied

Irrigation is commonly used in Mackay/Whitsundays, however the use of automation and telemetry to control flow and water usage is not widely practiced due to the limitations of current telemetry units. While automation and telemetry have been widely used with low pressure irrigation systems, its use is generally not considered by growers with other irrigation delivery systems.

Using a soil moisture probe allows the grower a better understanding of soil responses to irrigation, as well as the time taken by the plant to use that soil moisture. With the use of telemetry, the grower will have instant access to this information and can make informed decisions about irrigation application amounts and frequency.

Currently the low-cost telemetry systems available have shown issues with reliability in regard to data transfer. As a part of this project, development of hardware and software will occur to try and improve this issue, whilst still keeping the costs low.