In recent research projects a lot of attention was paid in improving water supply for soil grown crops. One of the driving forces is the reduction of leaching. The lysimeter (drainage meter in the soil) turned out to be a good tool. Experience was obtained at Chrysanthemum crops mainly. Recently lysimeters are placed at other crops also (freesia, alstroemeria and lysianthus) so that we learn how irrigation and leaching relate to each other.
A major disadvantage is the high cost for a lysimeter and the problem that the lysimeter impede soil tillage and crop automation. For this reason, the interest of growers shifted to soil moisture sensors. Unfortunately, moisture sensors cannot measure leaching, at most they give an indication of leaching from the pattern at different soil layers.
Lysimeter: indispensable tool
For a better understanding of the behaviour of moisture sensors in relationship with irrigation and leaching lysimeters are therefore an indispensable tool. Therefore this season we will focus at the behaviour of soil moisture sensors in connection with irrigation and leaching measured by the lysimeter at the various companies (soils and crops). Then the Best Practices for the soil grown crops can be developed further.