A technological solution to measure soil moisture for small-scale agriculture

Published at: 31 July 2023

The technological solution to measure soil moisture that is an ecosystem of resources.

The Fontagro project for the digitalization of small-scale agriculture had a very specific objective: to develop a technological solution to measure soil moisture, designed for small-scale farmers. As the project progressed, the definition of a technological solution evolved into an ecosystem of resources for measuring soil moisture, and making decisions based on data analysis. The components of the ecosystem are detailed below.

Device for measuring soil moisture

The project designed and validated a device to measure soil moisture, encapsulated, robust, low cost and highly usable. This was designed with the participation of farmers, to ensure that their needs and expectations were met. The device can be easily replicated with the materials available on the project website, or it can also be purchased directly from Visualiti, which was co-executing the project and was in charge of designing and replicating the device.

Tutorial videos

To guarantee the appropriation of the technological solution, two tutorial videos were prepared. The first video tutorial contains instructions for installing the device in the field. Since no special equipment or training is required, the device can be installed by just following the video tutorial. The second video contains instructions for downloading and viewing the data collected by the device. Downloading and viewing the data also does not require special equipment or training, just a mobile device or computer that accepts microSD cards.

Device installation video tutorial

Data download and visualization video tutorial

Web application for downloading and viewing data

In order that anyone can access and view the data collected by the device, a web application was designed and developed, which works offline and can be accessed from any web browser. To use the application, you only have to load the app in the browser, and then it can be used even without an internet connection. When loading the data from the device, the app will automatically show two graphs. The first graph is a time series that shows the variation of soil moisture over time, while the second is a graph that shows the daily variation of soil moisture. Additionally, the application allows the generation and printing of a report in pdf format.

The web application can be accessed by clicking here.

Soil Moisture Management Manual

Once the soil moisture data is available, and its behavior in the crop can be visualized, it is time to make decisions that allow efficient management of soil moisture, especially when there is no irrigation. So that farmers, extension agents, and technical advisers, among others, can understand the importance of soil moisture, and correctly interpret the data collected by the device, a soil moisture management manual was created. The objective of the manual is to recommend or choose climate-smart agronomic practices for soil moisture management according to the particular conditions of the farmer.

The manual can be accessed by clicking here [link pending update].

With the support of
Fondo Coreano de Alianza para el Conocimiento en Tecnología e Innovación (KPK)